88-year-old man accused of killing wife 39 years ago appears in court

David Venables appeared at Worcester Magistrates' Court in a hearing which lasted four minutes. Credit: PA Images

An 88-year-old man charged with murdering his wife, whose remains were found in a septic tank 37 years after she disappeared, has appeared in court and has been bailed for a trial next year.

David Venables is accused of killing 48-year-old Brenda Venables, who was reported missing from the couple's then home in Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, Worcestershire, in 1982.

West Mercia Police launched a murder investigation after the find at the address in the village on July 12 2019.

Venables, of Elgar Drive, Kempsey, was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service last week with murdering Mrs Venables between May 2 and May 5 1982.

He appeared at Worcester Magistrates' Court on Tuesday morning in a hearing which lasted four minutes.

Venables, who wore a tweed jacket, formal shirt and tie, glasses and a face mask, kept his hands folded in his lap as he sat in the dock, speaking only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and that he understood proceedings.

He later appeared at Birmingham Crown Court for the bail application.

It is understood that Mrs Venables' remains were discovered after the tank was drained during routine maintenance.

Following the find, officers from West Mercia Police carried out searches at a bungalow in a quiet cul-de-sac in Kempsey the same month.

The force launched an "unexplained death" inquiry and linked it to the disappearance of the farmer's wife.