Susan Edwards, 56, has been found guilty today of murdering her parents, William and Patricia Wycherley, for their money. Her husband, 57-year-old Christopher, was also found guilty of murder for assisting his wife with the terrible crimes.
The crime, which shook the town of Mansfield in the UK, was described as “cold and calculated” by prosecutors. On the first week of May 1998, William, 85, and Patricia, 63, were shot dead at their home in Mansfield with a WWII-era revolver. They were wrapped in bedsheets and buried under the house garden.
A day after the murders, Susan withdrew £40,000, or $54,200, from her parent’s bank account. What followed the terrible murders and the subsequent theft were 15 years of lies the couple concocted to fool family members and friends about the state of their parents. Through letters and Christmas cards, Susan and Christopher made relatives believe that the elderly parents were still alive and travelling throughout the country. The couple sent out cards, which were sometimes “signed” by parents and sometimes written by Susan herself.
One of the letters, dated 2007, reflected the horrendous way Susan covered up for her parents’ death:
“I should explain that — with my father getting elderly and my mother not always in the best of health — they had been traveling around Ireland because of the good air on and off for some years.”
The couple, who was reportedly in debt during the time of the murders, continued to collect pension by forging Susan’s parents’ signatures. All incoming finances intended for the parents were redirected to Susan and Christopher’s bank accounts.
However, instead of erasing their £160,000 debt, Susan spent all the money they had been getting from their dead parents on frivolous expenses, like costly Frank Sinatra memorabilia, leaving them “nothing to show” for the murders they committed.
Fourteen years after his death, Susan’s father was sent a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions regarding his 100th birthday. Shortly after, police were alerted by Christopher’s stepmother, who told them that his stepson confessed to her that he had helped his wife bury the bodies of her parents.
Perhaps detecting an impending downfall, Christopher sent an email to Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin “out of the blue” after the Nottingham Police Department had dug up Susan’s parent’s bodies.
Entitled “Surrender to UK border at Lille Europe Station”, Christopher wrote to Griffin to notify the border police of their arrival, where they intended to surrender themselves to the authorities. They were arrested in October of 2013.
However, what appeared to be genuine repentance from their crimes would turn out to be another playground for Susan and Christopher’s lies. According to reports, the couple made up a story regarding Susan’s parents’ death, which was allegedly intended to lessen the severity of their charges. In their made-up story, Susan killed Patricia after she killed her husband, William. Susan admitted to manslaughter but the two denied murder charges.
But the jury did not buy the story. After convening on the case, the jury, composed of eight women and four men, delivered a guilty verdict to the judge on charges of murder.
Susan and Christopher Edwards will be sentenced on Monday. Judge Thirlwall said to them, shortly after the verdict:
“You both know what the consequences are of convictions for murder. You will both be subject to life sentences. What I have to consider if the length of the minimum terms you shall each serve before being considered for parole”
[Images from Nottinghamshire Police via BBC and PA via Daily Mail]