LANDSCAPERS: 'We must never forget the people who were at the centre of this human tragedy,' says police chief who brought the killers to justice
“I think whenever an investigation which gets dramatised for television from time to time, it always creates a bit of mixed feelings for those who were directly involved in it.
“I totally understand why they are doing it and why people will want to watch it, because it is a really fascinating and very unusual story and it’s bound to pique people’s interests.
“But we must never forget the people who were at the centre of this case – this human tragedy – were shot and killed in their own bed and buried in their own garden.
“And their killers stole their money and lived off their ill-gotten gains.”
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin has been speaking about the Wycherley Murders, ahead of the first episode of Landscapers – the new four-part drama about the murders of William and Patricia Wycherley in Forest Town in 1998, starring Olivia Colman and David Thewlis.
Aside from the brutality of the crimes, the lengths that the killers - Susan and Christopher Edwards - went to to evade justice is fascinating but also macabre.
They created an intricate web of lies to make everyone believe the elderly couple – whose bodies were finally exhumed from the garden of their Blenheim Close home in 2013 – were living and breathing.
They had all the Wycherleys’ mail diverted to their own home in Dagenham, East London, where they set about responding to letters from doctors, government departments and other correspondence, meticulously reply, posing as the dead couple, declining meetings and appointments.
At the same time, they would write letters and send Christmas cards to relatives, posing as William and Patricia, then later writing as themselves on the Wycherleys’ behalf, describing their travels and adventures in Ireland.
Relatives only discovered the harsh reality when representatives of the national press banged on their doors, asking them how they felt about the discoveries.
On their frequent visits back to Mansfield, to tend the ‘burial site’ as Christopher called it, they told neighbours various lies, such as they had moved to Morecambe, or emigrated to Australia.
And all the time they were stealing – emptying the Wycherleys’ bank accounts, taking out loans in their names, using the Wycherleys’ names to guarantee other loans, and eventually selling the house when they ran out of money.
Whenever Assistant Chief Constable Griffin and I have spoken about the case, there is almost a bond. He was the Detective Chief Inspector who got the Edwards back from France, where they had fled, and brought them to justice.
I was the first reporter at the scene on the day the bodies were uncovered, I told it to the world, despite the area crawling with news crews just behind me.
I think we both sat through all 25-or-so days of the subsequent murder trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
I tell everyone it was, and still is, the story of my career. I wouldn’t want to put words into the police chief’s mouth, but it really can’t get much bigger than that.
Although he tells me that, these days, he has “other fish to fry” - perhaps not surprisingly as one of Nottinghamshire’s most senior police officers.
But we’re pretty much the ‘go too’ for any TV company wanting to make documentaries about the case. We’re the ‘recognised experts’.
So, the big question. Will he be watching Landscapers when it airs on December 7 on Sky/HBO?
“I’ll be watching it, yes,” he replies. “I’ll be interested to see how the story is told and the approach they will take. I’m expecting it to be a high quality production. Olivia Colman is a great actress and everything she’s in is brilliant.
“So yeah, I’ll be watching, my wife will be watching and my mates will be watching.”