Deal mum-of-three's remains found after she was murdered by husband and buried in garden

The remains of Debbie Griggs were discovered during an excavation of a Dorset garden. Credit: Kent Police

The remains of a pregnant woman who was murdered by her husband have been discovered in a Dorset garden more than 20 years after she disappeared.

Mum-of-three Debbie Griggs was reported missing from her home in Deal in Kent by her husband Andrew in May 1999.

The 34-year-old's husband denied responsibility for her disappearance.

But 57-year-old Andrew Griggs was found guilty of murder and jailed for life in October 2019 - 20 years since Debbie was last seen - after cold case detectives from Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate reviewed the case.

Andrew Griggs outside Canterbury Court in October 2019 Credit: PA

Specialist officers and staff excavated a garden at a property in St Leonards, Dorset, on Wednesday 5 October following information received.

Officials discovered human remains, including teeth fragments.

Andrew Griggs had moved into the property in July 2001, after the initial probe into Debbie's disappearance concluded.

The human remains were confirmed as belonging to Debbie after a post-mortem examination on Friday 14 October.

Now further tests will be undertaken to establish the cause of death and enquiries will be carried out to find out how Debbie's remains came to be found at the property.

Griggs was jailed for a minimum of 20 years Credit: Kent Police

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kimber of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: "It is now more than 20 years since Debbie Griggs was murdered by her husband but we have never given up hope of one day finding her remains and giving her loved ones some closure.

"Andrew Griggs denied being responsible for his wife’s disappearance but this discovery is further proof that he was lying all along, causing even greater anguish for everyone who knew and loved Debbie.

"Whilst they continue to mourn her tragic loss to this day, I hope they can take some comfort in the knowledge that she can now be laid to rest.

"We will continue to keep Debbie’s family updated on the progress of our ongoing enquiries and provide support to them at this difficult time."

During Griggs' trial, prosecutors argued he was the person with "the most reason" to wish Debbie to disappear amid suspicions of him having sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl, as well as for business reasons.

At a Court of Appeal hearing in July 2022, Griggs' lawyer Michael Magarian QC argued the murder conviction was "unsafe" and said there were grounds for appeal.

Andrew Griggs was caught and charged with his wife's murder after lying for two decades about her disappearance

He said Mr Justice Spencer should not have allowed the evidence relating to allegations of Griggs's sexual activity with the teenage girl to be presented at the trial.

He argued it caused prejudice against Griggs.

Mr Magarian added that Griggs "was having to field a rape allegation in the middle of a murder trial" and the judge did not give sufficient warning to the jury of the prejudice this would cause against Griggs.

He argued the prosecution's case predominantly consisted of circumstantial evidence.

However, judges dismissed the arguments and said an appeal would fail.

Mr Justice Holroyde said the judge's directions over prejudicial issues had been "appropriate and sufficient".

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