A farmer, David Venables, 88, has been charged with the murder of his wife after her remains were found in a septic tank 37 years after he claimed she had left home without returning.
The 88-year-old was arrested in 2019 after workers discovered human remains in the cesspit at the farmhouse he had previously shared with his wife, Brenda Venables who was 48 as at when she when she went missing in 1982 in Kempsey, Worcestershire.
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 in the compound.
On Tuesday, June 8, West Mercia Police confirmed that they have charged Mr Venables in connection with his wife’s death two years after her bone remains were found in a bag during “routine maintenance”,
Mrs Venables’ name was added to her parents’ gravestone 16 miles away in Rushock, recording her year of death as 1982.
Forensic officers were seen scouring the farmland and Venables’ new home after the shock discovery was made.
At the time a neighbour said: “Mrs Venables used to go every week to her parents in Bromsgrove.
“At one point he told someone his wife had gone off to Spain.”
The suspect ran a nursery and piggery at Quaking Farm, where he had lived with Brenda.
Locals said Mrs Venables’s disappearance was the talk of the village and speculated at the time her body may have been buried in a concrete tomb under the nearby M5 motorway when it was being built.
A villager told The Sun Online: “We had only just moved to the village when she went missing.
“They were searching down by the river. That was the main thought, that she had drowned.”
Mark Paul, head of the complex casework unit, said: “The decision to authorise the charge against the defendant was made after careful consideration of all the available evidence of this complex case and determining that a prosecution is required in the public interest.
“The alleged offences occurred between May 2 1982 and May 5 1982.
“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether criminal charges are appropriate.
“Criminal proceedings are now active, and there must be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could prejudice these proceedings.”
A West Mercia Police spokesman added: “David Venables, aged 88, from Kempsey, was charged with murder on Tuesday 8 June and will appear in Worcester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 15 June.
“He has been charged in relation to the discovery of human remains, identified as Brenda Venables, that were found in Kempsey in July 2019.
“Brenda was originally reported missing in May 1982.”