A farmer has been accused of killing his wife and concealing her body for nearly 40 years, after she vanished from her home in Worcestershire in 1982.
David Venables, 89, appeared at Worcester Crown Court yesterday, 13 June where he is on trial for the murder of his wife, Brenda Venables.
Prior to his wife's disappearance, the court heard from prosecutor Michael Burrows QC that Mr Venables had allegedly been having an affair with a woman named Lorraine Styles.
Styles reportedly cared for Mr Venables' mother, with the court hearing the affair first begun 'around 1967'.
Despite Styles' 'doubts' about Mr Venables' 'feelings for her' leading to the affair cooling off, it allegedly picked up again in the months before his wife vanished.
Styles divorced her husband in 1970, the same year Mrs Venables discovered her husband was having an affair.
Mr Venables allegedly told Styles he would divorce his wife. However, Styles said he 'did not mention it' when she brought it up.
On 4 May, 1982, Mr Venables reported his wife missing to Worcester police station.
Newspaper clippings detailed Mr Venables' statement that he didn't have the 'faintest idea' where his wife was.
He also alleged she had been suffering from depression.
The comment led to some people presuming Mrs Venables had 'committed suicide', while a police investigation also came up empty handed.
However, in July 2019, Brenda's remains were found by workers in a 'secluded' and 'rough' septic tank not far from her and her husband's house on the 'remote' grounds of Quaking House Farm in Kempsey.
The discovery was made after Mr Venables' nephew took over the land.
Mrs Venables' skull was recovered and she was formally identified using DNA testing.
Mr Venables – then 49 – is accused of having murdered his wife because he 'wanted her out of the way' so he could 'resume his long-standing affair with another woman'.
Burrows stated: "The prosecution say that it is beyond belief to suppose that Brenda Venables took her own life by climbing into the septic tank and that she somehow shifted the heavy lid and put it back in place above her so that there was no sign of any disturbance.
"The farm itself is in a remote location and the septic tank, itself, was in a very secluded area."
Burrows argued that Mr Venables 'knew about the septic tank in its secluded location' and that it provided him with 'the perfect hiding place'.
"It meant he didn’t have to travel and risk being seen making a suspicious journey around the time of her disappearance or risk being seen disposing of her body somewhere else.
"And, of course, even if someone did think to look inside the tank, her body would be hidden from view," he continued.
Burrows also added that the prosecution viewed it as 'preposterous' to suggest Mrs Venables was 'confronted by someone outside the house'.
He continued: "Someone who just happened to be outside her home then and who attacked and killed her and hid her body in the septic tank, which was hidden from view and which so few people knew about."
Burrows resolved that Mr Venables 'got away with murder' for 'nearly 40 years'.
Mr Venables has denied murdering his wife between 2 and 5 May, 1982. He is currently on bail.
The trial is ongoing and expected to last six weeks.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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