An 88-year-old retired farmer has denied murdering his wife after her remains were found in a septic tank – 37 years after she vanished.
David Venables is accused of killing Brenda Venables, who was reported missing from the couple’s then home in Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, Worcs., in 1982.
He was arrested in 2019 after police discovered human remains in the cesspit at the farmhouse he had previously shared with his wife.
Mrs Venables, who was 48 at the time she went missing, vanished from their home, called Quaking Farm, in 1982 and has never been seen since.
Her disappearance was treated as a search for a missing person and it never became a murder inquiry until the bones of an adult female were found.
Maintenance workers found human remains in a septic tank at their former farm house on July 12, 2019.
Venables, who lives in a bungalow half-a-mile away, was arrested on suspicion of murder and charged on June 8 this year.
Today (Tuesday) he appeared at Worcester Crown Court where he denied murdering Brenda between May 2 and May 5, 1982.
During the 20-minute hearing Venables spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and to plead not guilty to the charge.
Venables was granted conditional bail and ordered to return to court for a six-week trial on June 6 next year.
Forensic officers were seen scouring the farmland and Venables’ new home in July 2019 after the shock discovery was made.
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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