Pensioner appears in court charged with 1982 murder of wife

David Venables, 88, is accused of killing Brenda Venables, whose remains were found in a septic tank 37 years after she disappeared.

David Venables arrives at court
David Venables arrives at court

An 88-year-old man 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 is accused of killing 48-year-old 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.

Human remains found in septic tank
Brenda Venables’ remains were found in a septic tank in July 2019 (Richard Vernalls/PA)

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.

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.

Human remains found in septic tank
Officers searched a bungalow in Kempsey shortly after the discovery of the remains (Richard Vernalls/PA)

It is understood that Mrs Venables’ remains were discovered after the tank was drained during routine maintenance.

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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