Farmer, 88, appears in court charged with murdering wife after body was found in septic tank 37 YEARS after vanishing

Farmer, 88, appears in court charged with murdering wife after body was found in septic tank 37 YEARS after vanishing


A RETIRED farmer has appeared in court today charged with murdering his wife after her remains were found in a septic tank – 37 years after she vanished.

David Venables is accused of killing Brenda Venables, who was reported missing from the couple's then home in Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, Worcestershire, in 1982.

The 88-year-old was arrested in 2019 after police discovered human remains in the cesspit at the farmhouse he had previously shared with his wife.

Mrs Venables, who was 48 at the time she went missing, vanished from their home, called Quaking Farm, in 1982 and has never been seen since.

Her disappearance was treated as a search for a missing person and it never became a murder inquiry until the bones of an adult female were found.

Maintenance workers found human remains in a septic tank at their former farm house on July 12, 2019.

Venables, who lives in a bungalow half-a-mile away, was arrested on suspicion of murder and charged on June 8.

Today he appeared at Worcester Magistrates’ Court charged with murdering Brenda between May 2 and May 5 1982.

He arrived at court wearing a flat cap, tweed jacket and trousers and striped tie and was carrying a blue holdall bag while being escorted by a police officer.

Venables kept his hands folded in his lap as he sat in the dock, speaking only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and that he understood proceedings.

He was not required to enter a plea and was remanded in custody.

Worcester Magistrates Court ordered to attend Birmingham Crown Court this afternoon for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

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

Following the find, officers from West Mercia Police carried out searches at a bungalow in a quiet cul-de-sac in Kempsey the same month.

Forensic officers were seen scouring the farmland and Venables’ new home in July 2019 after the shock discovery was made.

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 about Mrs Venables going missing two days earlier from her home in Bestmans Lane.  

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