Pensioner charged with killing wife found in septic tank 37 years after going missing

8 June 2021, 18:10

An 88-year-old man has been charged with the murder of his wife in 1982
An 88-year-old man has been charged with the murder of his wife in 1982. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A pensioner has been charged with the murder of his wife, whose remains were found in a septic tank 37 years after she disappeared.

David Venables, 88, is accused of killing 48-year-old Brenda Venables, who was reported missing from the couple's then home in Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, in May 1982.

A murder investigation was launched by West Mercia Police after her remains were found at the address on July 12, 2019.

Mark Paul, head of the complex casework unit, said: "The decision to authorise the charge against the defendant was made after careful consideration of all the available evidence of this complex case and determining that a prosecution is required in the public interest.

"The alleged offences occurred between May 2 1982 and May 5 1982."

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It is understood Mrs Venables' remains were discovered after the tank was drained during routine maintenance.

In July 2019, officers from West Mercia Police carried out searches at a bungalow in a quiet cul-de-sac in Kempsey, following the discovery of the remains earlier that month.

The force launched an "unexplained death" inquiry and linked it to the disappearance of the farmer's wife.

In May 1982, the Worcester Evening News ran a story on Mrs Venables going missing two days earlier from her home in Bestmans Lane.

The article described police using a helicopter to search the banks of the nearby River Severn.

Venables, of Kempsey, was charged with murder on Tuesday and will appear at Worcester Magistrates' Court on June 15, the CPS said.