Relatives of reclusive Mansfield couple William and Patricia Wycherley have described their shock at hearing that two bodies had been discovered in their Forest Town garden.
Giving evidence at Nottingham Crown Court today (Friday 6th June) on the third day of the trial, nieces of Mr Wycherley described how Christmas cards and other letters had regularly been sent to family members after the couple were killed in May 1998.
Their daughter, Susan Edwards (56) has admitted the manslaughter of Patricia Wycherley, who she claims murdered her father following a row.
Susan Edwards and her husband Christopher Edwards (57) both deny murdering Mrs Wycherley and her husband William, whose bodies were discovered at their Blenheim Close home in Forest Town, last year.
Relatives told the court today that they had received regular correspondence from the Wycherleys and their daughter, and said the first they knew of the death was when they saw it on the news.
In a statement read out by prosecutors, niece Christine Harford stated that initially family suspected that the Wycherleys may have been involved in a suicide pact, but ruled out the idea when they realised they had still been receiving Christmas cards from the couple more than a decade after they were killed.
Meanwhile, niece Hilary Rose described William Wycherley as a “bit of a black sheep” and that the family felt he “could not stick at anything.”
The court heard how Mr Wycherley had emigrated to Canada in 1930 but had returned to the UK the same year and set up a window cleaning business in London.
Niece Vivian Steenson, who travelled up from London to give evidence to the court, said she had only met Susan Edwards many years before and found her reclusive.
“I met Susan Edwards when she was about 12 years old at my mother’s flat,” she said. “They hadn’t come to see me, I just happened to be there when they visited.
“She appeared to be quite retiring. Uncle Bill was very upset when she married Christopher Edwards - he seemed to be irrationally jealous.”
Yesterday, prosecutor Peter Joyce QC told the jury that Mr Wycherley (85) and his 63-year-old wife were both shot twice with a .38 revolver over the May Bank Holiday weekend of 1998 at their Blenheim Close home.
“The prosecution case is that Susan Edwards’ parents were shot and killed by them over that bank holiday weekend,” Mr Joyce told the court.
“They were shot using a .38 revolver and over that bank holiday weekend they were not just shot but they were also buried in their own back garden.
“Over the next 15 years and in order to continue stealing money and to keep up the pretence that the couple were still alive, they lied to family members, they lied to neighbours, and they lied to financial institutions - they lied to everybody. They deceived everybody into thinking William and Patricia Wycherley were still alive.”
The case continues.