Beds, Herts & Bucks

Christopher Symons receives life for Patricia Goodband murder

Christopher Symons
Image caption Christopher Symons "devised a cruel and calculated plan", police said.

A man who murdered his business partner and threw her body down a well shaft in an attempt to gain a £1m inheritance has been given a life sentence.

Christopher Symons, 63, of Cambridge Street in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, killed Patricia Goodband in December.

The 76-year-old's body was found concealed in a well in the grounds of her home near Aylesbury in January.

Symons, who denied the murder, was told at Reading Crown Court that he would serve at least 27 years in prison.

His lover Jennifer Creasey, 73, of Hale Road, Benson, Oxfordshire, was sentenced to six months for assisting an offender.

Symons' 59-year-old friend Robert Taft, of Kings Close, Westcott, Aylesbury, was given 10 months for perverting the course of justice and a 14-day concurrent sentence for possession of ammunition.

'Cruel and calculated'

Image caption Patricia Goodband had been friends with her killer for 30 years

Ms Goodband was reported missing by her daughter on 9 January.

The businesswoman, who had known Symons for 30 years, had not been seen since 17 December.

Her body was found on 21 January and a post-mortem examination found she died from head injuries.

During Symons' trial, the court heard Ms Goodband had run a road haulage and agricultural business with him from her home in Woodham.

The prosecution said he killed her on 22 December in a "cold blooded, planned murder for financial gain", and his "motive was clear".

The defence had said much of the evidence against Symons was "circumstantial and incomplete".

Symons told police he dropped Mrs Goodband off at Milton Keynes station so she could go away over Christmas.

His defence admitted this was untrue, but said Symons was a man who lived a life of pretence and the fact he had lied did not mean he was guilty of murder.

Det Supt Chris Ward from Thames Valley Police said: "In order to inherit her property and share of their business, [he] devised a cruel and calculated plan to murder Patricia and make it appear as if she vanished without a trace," he said.

"This has been a complex inquiry in which we have had to unpick all of Symons' lies in order to uncover the truth."

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