Husband charged with murder of wife found in septic tank 40 years after she vanished

David Venables, 88, has been charged with the murder of his wife Brenda 40 years after she disappeared (Image: SWNS)

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A pensioner has been charged with the murder of his wife whose body was found in a septic tank nearly 40 years after she vanished.

David Venables has today been charged with the murder of Brenda Venables, who was reported missing in May 1982.

The 88-year-old was arrested in July 2019, days after his wife's remains were discovered on the grounds of their former home at Quaking House Farm in Kempsey, Worcestershire.

Mrs Venables disappeared at the age of 48 and months later her name was added to her parents' gravestone 16 miles away in Rushock, recording her year of death as 1982.

A bag of bones was found in the property's cess pit during routine maintenance, prompting a murder probe.

Brenda Venables disappeared at the age of 48 in 1982
(Image: Worcester News / SWNS)

Venables had moved from the property at the time of the discovery, but was understood to be living less than a mile away.

Speaking at the time of the disappearance, Venables said that he “woke up to find that she had gone”.

He told his local newspaper: “I can only hope and pray she is safe.”

Mark Paul, Head of Complex Casework Unit for the CPS, 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 2 May 1982 and 5 May 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."

Venables is due to appear at Worcester Magistrates Court next Tuesday (June 15).

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