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David Venables: Retired farmer got away with murder for 40 years

David Venables denies murdering his wife Brenda (Image: SWNS)

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.

PABest David Venables, 89, arrives at Worcester Crown Court where he is accused of murdering his wife Brenda, whose remains were found in a septic tank. Venables, of Elgar Drive, Kempsey, was charged with murder in June 2021, more than two years after his wife's remains were discovered at the couple's former home in the Worcestershire village. She, then 48, was reported missing in 1982. Picture date: Wednesday June 8, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story COURTS Kempsey. Photo credit should read: Jacob King/PA Wire

Venables arrives at Worcester Crown Court where he will stand trial for around six weeks (Image: PA)

FILE IMAGE??? Linked to today's SWNS story SWMDmorder June 13, 2022, of how David Venables, 88, is brought to trial at Worcester Crown Court after being accused of murdering his wife Brenda Venables, 48, in 1982 . He was arrested after her remains were found in a septic tank at the couple's former home in Kempsey, Worcestershire, in July 2019. Aerial view of Quaking House Farm (foreground) near Kempsey in Worcestershire, where police found human bones in a Cesspit discovered (RED). The remains are believed to be those of missing wife Brenda Venables, who disappeared without a trace from the farm she shared with her husband David in 1982. In the distance is the village of Kempsey where suspect David Venables now lives in a bungalow (WHITE) after selling the farm.

The farm’s septic tank (red) and where Venables lives now (white) (Image: SWNS)

‘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.

FILE IMAGE??? Linked to today's SWNS story SWMDmorder June 13, 2022, of how David Venables, 88, is brought to trial at Worcester Crown Court after being accused of murdering his wife Brenda Venables, 48, in 1982 . He was arrested after her remains were found in a septic tank at the couple's former home in Kempsey, Worcestershire in July 2019. The septic tank at Quaking House Farm where the remains were found. An 86-year-old man has been arrested for murder after human remains were found in a farm septic tank, Kempsey, Worcestershire, 30/7/2019 See SWNS story SWMDbones. Police have arrested an 86-year-old man on suspicion of murder after the remains of a woman were found in a septic tank. The human bones found in the cesspool are believed to be those of Brenda Venables, who disappeared in 1982. The 48-year-old disappeared at her home, Quaking House Farm, where she lived with her husband David in Kempsey, Worcs. Workers found the remains there on July 12 and police have dismissed speculation it could be real estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, who disappeared in nearby Pershore in 1986.

The septic tank at Quaking House Farm has been branded as “almost the perfect hideaway” (Image: SWNS)

FILE IMAGE ? Linked to today's SWNS story SWMDmorder June 13, 2022, of how David Venables, 88, is brought to trial at Worcester Crown Court after being accused of murdering his wife Brenda Venables, 48, in 1982 . He was arrested after her remains were found in a septic tank at the couple's former home in Kempsey, Worcestershire in July 2019. David Venables, 86, leaves his bungalow in Kempsy, Worcestershire July 19, 2019. Venables' wife Brenda disappeared in 1982 from their marital home on the outskirts of the village where police have discovered human bones in a cesspool. See SWNS story SWMDbones. Police have arrested an 86-year-old man on suspicion of murder after the remains of a woman were found in a septic tank. The human bones found in the cesspool are believed to be those of Brenda Venables, who disappeared in 1982. The 48-year-old disappeared at her home, Quaking House Farm, where she lived with her husband David in Kempsey, Worcs. Workers found the remains there on July 12 and police have dismissed speculation it could be real estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, who disappeared in nearby Pershore in 1986. Local residents say the remains are those of Ms Venables. Her husband, now 86, sold the farmhouse for £467,000 in 2014 and now lives in a bungalow a mile away in the village. A spokeswoman for West Mercia Police said:

Venables is said to have been having an affair at the time of his wife’s death (Image: SWNS)

“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.

FILE IMAGE ? Linked to today's SWNS story SWMDmorder June 13, 2022, of how David Venables, 88, is brought to trial at Worcester Crown Court after being accused of murdering his wife Brenda Venables, 48, in 1982 . He was arrested after her remains were found in a septic tank at the couple's former home in Kempsey, Worcestershire in July 2019. Newspaper clipping from the Worcester News reports the disappearance of Brenda Venables in 1982. Human bones were found in a septic tank in a Found house formerly owned by farmer David Veanables - 37 years after his death, Brenda disappeared. See SWNS story SWMDbones. Human bones found at the bottom of a septic tank are believed to belong to a farmer who went missing 37 years ago. Brenda Venables disappeared from her home in the village of Kempsey, Worcs in 1982 at the age of 48. Maintenance workers found human remains at Quaking House Farm on Bestmans Lane last Friday (12/7) - where Mrs Venables and her husband David lived. The discovery was initially believed to be linked to the search for murdered real estate agent Suzy Lamplugh in nearby Pershore, but police have ruled this out.

Newspaper clippings from the time of death (Image: Worcester News/SWNS)

FILE IMAGE??? Linked to today's SWNS story SWMDmorder June 13, 2022, of how David Venables, 88, is brought to trial at Worcester Crown Court after being accused of murdering his wife Brenda Venables, 48, in 1982 . He was arrested after her remains were found in a septic tank at the couple's former home in Kempsey, Worcestershire in July 2019. Aerial view of Quaking House Farm near Kempsey in Worcestershire where police discovered human bones in a septic tank. The remains are believed to be the missing wife Brenda Venables, who disappeared without a trace from the farm she shared with her husband David in 1982.

Venables sold the farm to his nephew in 2019 (Image: SWNS)

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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MORE: Prime suspect in 1986 murder of Suzy Lamplugh ‘lies on his deathbed’

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

Justin Scacco

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