Mansfield couple Patricia and William Wycherley 'shot and buried'

Susan and Christopher Edwards Image copyright Police custody picture
Image caption Susan Edwards, 56, and Christopher Edwards, 57, are alleged to have murdered the couple in 1998

A couple were shot dead by their daughter and son-in-law, who then buried their bodies and tricked relatives into believing they were still alive, a court has heard.

Susan and Christopher Edwards are alleged to have sent letters to family from William and Patricia Wycherley, of Mansfield, to cover up the killings.

The pair deny two counts of murder.

However, Mrs Edwards has admitted the manslaughter of her mother "on the basis of provocation".

At an earlier hearing, the pair admitted burying the couple in the back garden of their home in Blenheim Close, Mansfield.

'Deceived everyone'

Opening the case at Nottingham Crown Court, prosecutor Peter Joyce QC said Mr Wycherley, 85, and his wife, 63, were shot twice with a .38 revolver that belonged to Mr Edwards.

Mr Joyce said two joint accounts held by the couple were "cleaned out" shortly after their deaths.

"A total of £40,000 or more was taken and has never been recovered," he said.

Image caption The bodies of Patricia and William Wycherley were found in their back garden

"Over the next 15 years, in order to continue stealing money and to cover up what they had done, these two defendants lied to family members, neighbours, doctors, financial institutions, and created and used many false documents."

Mr Joyce said the Edwardses, of no fixed address, "diverted" £245,000 into a joint account over the years.

"They deceived and tricked everyone into believing that Susan Edwards' parents were still alive," he added.

"They could then cover up the killings and continue to fund their own lifestyle and help to solve their financial difficulties."

Parents 'travelling'

Mr Joyce told the court the Wycherleys moved to Blenheim Close in 1987.

Neighbours described the couple as reserved and rather reclusive and had little contact with them, the jury heard.

Image copyright Police issue
Image caption Ahead of the trial, police released photos of William Wycherley

The defendants told neighbours their parents had gone to Blackpool "due to ill health" while others were told they had retired and were living in Morecambe, the prosecutor said.

Cards to relatives said the Wycherleys were travelling in Ireland "because of the good air" and letters were written to Mr Wycherley's doctor, declining appointments and vaccines.

The court heard the Edwardses owed more than £160,000 to creditors by the time they were arrested last year.

Mr Joyce said the couple fled to France after they received a letter from the Centenarian Society who wanted to speak to Mrs Edwards' father, because he was approaching 100 years of age.

When they ran out of money in France, Mr Edwards contacted his stepmother to ask her for money and gave her an account of what had happened in 1998.

His stepmother contacted the police, telling them her stepson had told her he had helped his wife to bury her parents.

The Edwardses returned to the UK by agreement on 30 October 2013, when they were arrested, Mr Joyce said.

After her arrest Mrs Edwards told police she believed her mother had shot her father during the May bank holiday weekend.

She claimed she then argued with Mrs Wycherley before shooting her.

In her account, Mrs Edwards told police that her mother claimed during the argument to have had a sexual relationship with Christopher Edwards in the early 1990s.

But Mr Joyce said her account of killing her mother - when her husband was elsewhere - had been invented before her arrest.

The trial continues.

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