A former farmer has been accused of dumping his wife’s body in a septic tank while they were having a “longstanding affair”.
David Venables, 89, got away with murder for nearly 40 years, Worcester Crown Court heard today.
He is said to have killed the “primitive and orderly” Brenda Venables before hiding her body in a septic tank not far from her Worcestershire home.
Ms Venables’ remains were not discovered in the underground chamber until 37 years after her disappearance in 1982 – in a once ‘harsh’, overgrown and ‘secluded’ place.
Prosecutor Michael Burrows QC claimed Venables had an on-off relationship with his mother’s former carer Lorraine Styles in the lead up to his wife’s disappearance.
The Crown claimed Venables, then 49, killed his wife, 48, and found her body in a septic tank on the grounds of the “remote” Quaking House Farm near Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, where the couple had lived since 1961. disposed of.
Mr Burrows said: “The truth, prosecutors say, is that it was David Venables who killed her.
‘He wanted her out of the way: he wanted to resume his long-standing affair with another woman.
‘He knew about the septic tank in their remote location.
“It was almost the perfect hiding place for him.”
Mr Burrows continued: “It meant he didn’t have to travel and risk being seen making a suspicious trip at the time of her disappearance, or risk being seen disposing of her body elsewhere.
“And of course, even if someone thought to look inside the tank, their body wouldn’t be visible.
“And for almost 40 years it was the perfect place and he got away with murder.”
The jury heard that Venables’ affair with Ms. Styles began “around 1967” and continued on and off.
Mr Burrows claimed that by 1981 Ms Styles “again had doubts about David Venables’ feelings for her”.
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But he said the farm owner reignited the extramarital affair over Christmas and New Year’s – just months before his wife disappeared.
Prosecutors allege Ms Styles ended a relationship she had with another man “in confidence in what Mr Venables had told her” about his romantic intentions
But “she noted that David Venables didn’t mention his divorce unless she brought up the subject, and even then he apologized,” Mr Burrows added.
The jury heard that Venables had reported his wife missing at Worcester Police Station on May 4, 1982.
Newspaper clippings from the time show Venables claimed he woke up to find his wife gone – and that he hadn’t “the faintest idea” of what had happened to her.
He also said she was depressed.
A police investigation found no trace of Ms Venables, while “some people thought she had committed suicide”.
By 2019, Venables had sold the farm to his nephew, and in July of that year workers clearing out the septic tank found bones, including a human skull.
DNA testing confirmed it was Mrs. Venables.
Mr Burrows continued: “Prosecutors say it is incredible to assume that Brenda Venables took her own life by climbing into the septic tank and that she somehow shifted the heavy lid and put it back over herself so that there was no sign of any disturbance.’
He added: “The farm itself is in a remote location and the septic tank itself was in a very remote area.
“Few knew about it.
“Prosecutors say it is absurd to assume that Brenda Venables walked out of her home that night and was confronted by someone outside the home.
“Someone who happened to be outside her house at the time and attacked and killed her and hid her body in the septic tank which was not visible and which so few people knew about.”
Venables, who is on bail, was in court wearing headphones to follow the proceedings, the jury was told.
The pensioner, now from Kempsey, denies murdering his wife between May 2 and 5, 1982.
The process, scheduled for six weeks, continues.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/13/david-venables-retired-farmer-got-away-with-murder-for-40-years-16821995/ David Venables: Retired farmer got away with murder for 40 years