Woman Killed Her Husband With An Ornamental Garden Frog And Hid His Body For 18 Years

When Leigh Sabine, 74, died from brain cancer in October last year, neighbors found a mummified body hidden in her garden shed. It had been there for 18 years since she murdered her husband.

The body was confirmed by the coroner to be the remains of Sabine’s late husband, John, who was last seen alive back in 1997 at their home in the village of Beddau near Pontypridd, South Wales in the U.K.

According to a recent inquest, John Sabine, 67, who worked as an accountant, was presumed to be missing, but it turns out his wife Leigh had killed her husband, bludgeoning him to death with a stone ornamental garden frog. She then wrapped the body in felt and plastic and hid it in her garden shed for 18 years.

As reported by Buzzfeed, an autopsy on John Sabine’s remains showed that he had died from a blow from the 2-lb stone garden frog, which was described as having a distinctive protruding eye and back leg, both of which matched injuries on his corpse.

The coroner said, “The frog had a projecting eye and hind leg. These features were lined up with the fractures.”

“A single blow from this item could have accounted for all the skull fractures. They are severe injuries and can easily account for death.”

Reportedly, after Leigh Sabine killed her husband, she wrapped the body in 50 layers of roofing felt and plastic bags and then tied it up with elasticated rope and green string.

According to a report by the Mail Online, the court heard that at one stage Leigh Sabine, a former cabaret singer, had told her neighbor that she had bought a “medical skeleton” while training to be a nurse. She reported also joked about the wrapped package, asking neighbors to help her move it up into the attic.

However, it was when Leigh died in October 2015 at the age of 74 from brain cancer that the whole story came out. Neighbors had begun sorting through the communal garden shared with them by Leigh and found the mummified body hidden in the shed.

As for the stone garden frog, the object had reportedly been kept next to the couple’s marital bed for all these years.

Recently in the coroner’s court, a local hairdresser said that, just months before she died, Leigh Sabine had said she expected to become famous after she died. Reportedly, when the hairdresser asked her why, she responded by saying, “Because of the body in the bag.” When questioned further, Leigh did not, apparently, clarify that statement.

Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Morgan said in court that DNA analysis had confirmed that the remains were those of Leigh’s husband, John Sabine.

Morgan said, “It is my view that Leigh Sabine probably killed John Sabine and wrapped up his body to move it outside.”

According to Morgan, there was no evidence to suggest anyone else had been involved in the crime or knew of John Sabine’s death. The coroner reportedly recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

In comments to the Buzzfeed article, many readers questioned why no one smelled the decomposing body or tried to track down the missing husband.

One person commented to say she’s lived in the area most of her life and said there was no smell whatsoever.

Marie Susan Todd commented, “No, honestly I’ve lived in the town most of my life. You honestly couldn’t smell a thing. They suspect that she kept the body in her flat for years before she moved him outside.”

[Photo via Flickr by Tony Webster, cropped and resized/CC BY 2.0]