The man charged with the murders of reclusive Forest Town pensioners Patricia and William Wycherley demonstrated to the jury how to fire a pistol as he gave evidence in his own defence at Nottingham Crown Court today (12th June).
Christopher Edwards (57) told the court earlier that he was unaware that his wife Susan Edwards (56) had opened a Halifax Building Society joint account in her and her mother’s name on May 5th 1998 - the day after the May bank holiday weekend in which they died.
But the court later heard of Edward’s long association with handguns - having owned three revolvers and been a member at a London gun club until 1995, when handguns were banned following the Dunblane massacre.
Standing in the dock, Edwards used his finger to demonstrate how to aim and fire a revolver, during cross-examination from prosecutor Peter Joyce QC.
The court also heard that his wife and co-accused Susan Edwards (56) was’ terrified’ of handguns, and had stood with her ‘fingers in her ears’ when she went with him to the shooting range.
Both deny murdering her parents, Patricia (63) and William Wycherley (85), whose bodies were discovered buried in a makeshift grave in the rear garden of their Blenheim Close home in October last year.
But the couple, who were arrested at St Pancras Station after returning penniless from France, have admitted burying the bodies and stealing around £250,000 from their accounts between 1998 and the time of their arrest. Susan Edwards has also admitted her mother’s manslaughter.
Following the demonstration, Mr Joyce said: “There was one person there who liked handling guns, and that was you. There was one person there who knew how to use them, and that was you, and there was one person there who did use them, and that was you.
“They had only been dead for about 36 hours when they were buried, and that is why they were in the state they were in.
“If you had buried them the following weekend, both bodies would have been purging and leaking. Yesterday Dr Stuart Hamilton made it plain that flesh would have come away in the hands of whoever had been carrying the mother’s legs.
“And for you, the cheapest way out of this was to say that mum had shot dad, then provoked Susan into shooting mum.”
The Edwards claim that Patricia Wycherley murdered her husband following a row, and that Susan Edwards then shot her mother when she confessed to knowing that her daughter had been sexually abused by her father.
They claim to have returned to the Wycherley’s Forest Town home the following weekend, where Susan Edwards told her husband of the deaths.
They then agreed to bury the bodies in the back garden to hide the deaths from the authorities.
But prosecutors claim that the Edwards travelled to Mansfield together and killed the Wycherleys over the May Bank Holiday weekend of 1998, and burying them the same weekend for their own financial profit.
Christopher Edwards also told the court that his wife had been estranged from her parents since 1992, apart from occasional visits.
Edwards said: “She bitterly disliked her father due to his bullying demeanour and because of what happened when she was young.
“I would say that her feelings towards her mother were far more mixed. The visits were usually very unpleasant. The mother would say ‘Why don’t you come up? it will be better this time’. Then it would carry on as it always did.
“Susan had no friends and we lived our lives together. I went out to work and there were colleagues that I would see occasionally, but we were each other’s friends, if you like.”
The case continues.