Human bones discovered inside sceptic tank at farmer's home may belong to his wife who disappeared 37 years ago
Human bones were discovered in a septic tank at a farmhouse in Worcestershire, nearly 37 years after the mysterious disappearance of the farmer's wife who lived there. The grim discovery was made by maintenance workers who immediately alerted police.
Villagers said that the body parts were discovered in a bag in a cesspit being drained during routine maintenance.
The farmhouse, located on the outskirts of Kempsey, Worcestershire, is less than eight miles from the site where police have been searching for estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, who disappeared nearly 33 years ago.
The authorities were searching for her in the region after finding fresh information in the old case.
West Mercia Police released a statement saying that it was too early to a rule out the recent discovery's link to the Lamplugh case. The authorities, however, added that they have not found any evidence to suggest that there is a possible link between the two cases.
The officers, instead, are looking at the possibility of the bones, found on July 12, belonging to the farmer's wife, identified as Brenda Venables.
She vanished from the address in 1982, according to the Daily Mail.
The authorities said that they are waiting for the results of a post-mortem examination which is set to be released later this week.
Superintendent Damian Pettit said: "This is understandably a concerning discovery for the people in Kempsey. Thankfully findings of this nature are very rare.
'We have multiple lines of inquiry to explore and one of which is into the disappearance of a woman from Kempsey that was launched in 1982. At this stage, we don't believe the remains to be connected to the Met Police's missing person investigation for Suzy Lamplugh."
Brenda Venables and her now 86-year-old husband David Venables reportedly ran a nursery at the site. Reports state that they did not have any children.
David, who still lives in the area, declined to comment on the discovery as he returned to his £300,000 bungalow after taking rubbish to the tip in his car.
One of Brenda's relatives, however, said: "We have had no developments for 37 years. To suddenly be confronted with this major development is quite a lot to process. Brenda's bank account remained untouched and there were no positive sightings of her after she disappeared."
While one local said: "When the wife disappeared it was big news here. Police searched my outbuildings and deployed tracker dogs. There was a suggestion that she may have ended up in the River Severn, which is only a few fields away from their farmhouse."
Reports state that after Brenda's disappearance, the case was treated as a search for a missing person, and did not become a murder inquiry.
David was reportedly never apprehended in relation to his wife's disappearance and he sold the farmhouse to a relative for £467,000 five years ago. He now lives in a bungalow just a mile away from the site.
David, in 1982, told the Worcester Evening News that his wife was gone when he woke up one morning: "She has never done anything like this before and I haven't the faintest idea what has happened to her. I have been unable to sleep a wink since she left and I can only hope and pray that she is safe," adding that she had been depressed due to a bout of flu.
Police used a helicopter to search the countryside, including the banks of the Severn. A nephew of Brenda's said he hoped the family might now get 'closure' but the discovery of the bones raised questions over the initial investigation.
Mark Sheppy, 58, said: 'If you go and dredge a river... why didn't they look a bit nearer? It's always been a mystery and now it might finally be solved. It's not confirmed yet – but if it's not her, who is it?'
This month, the Metropolitan Police began a search for Suzy Lamplugh at Drakes Broughton, Worcestershire, close to the scene of a previous search for the missing estate agent 18 years ago.
Suzy Lamplugh, 25, vanished in 1986 and was declared dead, presumed murdered, in 1994.
The prime suspect was convicted killer John Cannan, but there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
The Met said the Drakes Broughton search was the result of fresh information received after a search of the home which formerly belonged to Cannan's mother in Sutton Coldfield.