Debbie Griggs death: Murder accused 'was having sex with girl, 15'

Andrew Griggs Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Andrew Griggs is accused of murdering his wife Debbie Griggs 20 years ago

A man accused of murdering his pregnant wife 20 years ago was having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl, a court heard.

Andrew Griggs, 57, is alleged to have killed Debbie Griggs, then aged 34, and disposed of her body in May 1999.

Her husband "may have wanted to be rid of her" because she was suspicious about his relationship with the child, a jury at Canterbury Crown Court heard.

Mr Griggs, of St Leonards, Dorset, denies murder.

After his wife disappeared from the family home in Deal, Kent, Mr Griggs denied seeing the teenage girl when questioned by police.

Image caption Debbie Griggs has not been since May 1999

However, in May 2001 an explicit letter from her to Mr Griggs was found, which "indicates very clearly that there was a sexual relationship between her and the defendant", the court heard.

Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, said that Mrs Griggs "both strongly suspected it and was unhappy about it".

"It was a reason why he may have wanted to be rid of her," Mr Atkinson said.

The jury was told that police collected evidence that Mr Griggs believed his wife was not coming back.

'Walked out'

Mr Atkinson said that it was "not without significance" that the defendant was reported to have spoken about his wife in the past tense a week after he claimed she had walked out on him.

The manager of a dental practice phoned Mr Griggs on 17 May and asked for his wife's date of birth, the court heard.

"The defendant's reply left the manager with a cold feeling, because he replied in this way: 'her date of birth was 10 December 1964'," Mr Atkinson said.

On 8 June 1999, he called an estate agent in Bournemouth and by 16 June "was all packed up and moving out" of the family home in Cross Road, the court heard.

"In other words, he had plans in place to move himself and his sons out of the Deal area within a month of Debbie Griggs going missing," Mr Atkinson said.

The trial continues.

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