Septic tank where a woman’s body was found “unexcavated” in 1982,

David Venables, the septic tank where Brenda's body was dumped, Brenda.

David Venables has been accused of killing his wife Brenda to be with his mistress (Pictures: PA/Worcester News/SWNS)

Police searching for a woman who went missing in 1982 walked a few yards from the septic tank where her body was found 37 years later, according to a murder trial.

David Venables, 89, is said to have ‘escaped murder’ for almost 40 years after he allegedly disposed of his wife Brenda Venables, then 48, in the cesspool at their home in Kempsey, Worcestershire.

Ms. Venables disappeared between May 2 and 5, 1982, but her remains were not found until 2019.

Jurors at Worcester Crown Court heard Venables later suggest to officers that serial killer Fred West may have had something to do with the disappearance.

Officers involved in the “high-profile” search described how dogs, boats and a helicopter were used to scour local waterways, fields, woods and farm outbuildings.

Retired West Mercia police officer Peter Sharrock was part of the search teams, but recounted how the septic tank had apparently been neglected.

He told the court on Thursday: ‘I certainly never participated in the search of the septic tank. I walked past on my way to the river for research. No one mentioned searching the reservoir.

Brenda Venables' remains were discovered in a septic tank at the couple's former home in Kempsey, Worcestershire in July 2019. The septic tank at Quaking House Farm where the remains were found.  An 86-year-old man has been arrested for murder after human remains were found in a farm septic tank, Kempsey, Worcestershire, FILE PICTURE ????????  Linked to today's SWNS story SWMDmurder, 8 June 2022, on how David Venables (89) will stand trial today at Worcester Crown Court charged with the murder of his wife who disappeared in 1982. Brenda's remains Venables were discovered in a septic tank at the couple's former home, in Kempsey, Worcestershire, in July 2019. The septic tank at Quaking House Farm where the remains were found.  An 86-year-old man has been arrested for murder after human remains were found in a farm septic tank, Kempsey, Worcestershire, 30.7.2019 See SWNS story SWMDbones.  Police have arrested an 86-year-old man on suspicion of murder after a woman's remains were found in a septic tank.  The human bones found in the cesspool are believed to be those of Brenda Venables who disappeared in 1982. The 48-year-old disappeared from her home, Quaking House Farm, where she lived with her husband David in Kempsey, Worcs .  Workers found the remains there on July 12 and cops have dismissed speculation it may be estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, who disappeared near Pershore in 1986.

A policeman said no one thought to enter the septic tank (Picture: SWNS)

Brenda.

In 1982 dogs, helicopters and search parties were sent after Brenda (Picture: SWNS)

He explained how he saw a photo of the farm in a newspaper in 2019, in an article about the discovery of human remains there, and recalled looking for Brenda in the area.

He said: ‘As soon as I saw an aerial view of the site, I remembered what I saw then, what I saw now. When I saw it in the newspaper, it triggered a memory in my mind.

The retired officer told jurors he was “probably about 20 to 30 yards” from the tank when it was searched.

David Venables, 89, arrives at Worcester Crown Court, where he is charged with the murder of his wife Brenda, whose remains were found in a septic tank.

The retired pig farmer denies murdering his wife (Picture: PA)

When asked why he never looked inside, he said he grew up in ‘urban areas’ and was unaware of the existence of an on-site sewage system. .

He said: “We had been directed to the forest and we were just on our way to this area. At the time it looked like a concrete slab (area) and I paid no attention to it. The word is retrospective, really.

The court has already heard details of Mr Venables’ 14-year affair with the now deceased mother-of-three Lorraine Styles, including how he visited his mistress for sex just days after the disappearance of his wife.

Venables denies murdering his wife. The trial, scheduled to last six weeks, is continuing.

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