United Kingdom

David Venables court hearing: Farmer in court charged with murdering wife who went missing in 1982

A farmer charged with murdering his wife, whose remains were found in a septic tank some 37 years after she disappeared, has appeared in court.

David Venables, 88, is accused of killing Brenda Venables, who was reported missing from the couple's then home in Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, Worcestershire, in 1982.

West Mercia Police launched a murder investigation after the find at the address in the village on July 12 2019.

Venables, of Elgar Drive, Kempsey, was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service last week with murdering Mrs Venables between May 2 and May 5 1982.

David Venables (pictured outside court today), 88, is accused of killing Brenda Venables, who was reported missing from the couple's then home in Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, Worcestershire, in 1982

Brenda Venables, 48, in a passport image. She was reported missing from the couple's then home at Bestmans Lane in Kempsey before her remains were found in a septic tank in 2019

An aerial view showing the farmhouse and cess pit (bottom centre, between the trees) in Kempsey, Worcestershire, where human remains were found in a septic tank by police

He appeared at Worcester Magistrates' Court on Tuesday morning in a hearing which lasted four minutes.

Venables, who wore a tweed jacket, formal shirt and tie, glasses and a face mask, 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.

Magistrates remanded him into custody for a hearing later the same day at Birmingham Crown Court.

It is understood that the remains of Mrs Venables', who was 48 at the time of her disappearance, were discovered after the tank was drained during routine maintenance.

Venables, who wore a tweed jacket, formal shirt and tie, glasses and a face mask, 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

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.

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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