Kent

Andrew Griggs murder trial: Debbie Griggs 'would not have abandoned children'

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

A loving mother of three who disappeared 20 years ago would never have walked out on her own children, a court heard.

Andrew Griggs, 57, is alleged to have murdered Debbie Griggs and disposed of her body in 1999.

Mr Griggs, of St Leonards, Dorset, denies the charges and said his wife abandoned him and their three sons.

Mrs Griggs' friend Dorothea Smith told a jury: "I know 110 % she would not have walked out on her children."

Police have been unable to find any trace of Mrs Griggs, who was four months pregnant, since she disappeared from the family home in Deal, Kent, aged 34 on 5 May 1999.

Image caption Debbie Griggs has not been seen since May 1999

Mrs Smith told Canterbury Crown Court she was "shocked" when Mr Griggs phoned her on 6 May and said his wife had left the family home and not returned.

"I disputed that she would ever do that. The love for her children was palpable," she said.

Asked how Mr Griggs acted, she added: "The thing that really stood out was the calmness. There was no sense of worry.

"It was like he had phoned me to ask if I'd remembered to put milk on the shopping list. No emotion."

Mrs Griggs confided in Mrs Smith during weekly telephone calls, she said.

'Happy'

She said Mrs Griggs was "happy" about the arrival of their fourth child, but Mr Griggs "had told her he would like to terminate the pregnancy".

"He didn't believe that it was his," she added.

Neighbour Geraldine Bristow said Mr Griggs told her on 6 May that his wife had said "she was going to go away for a few days and see how he coped with the children".

He told her that his wife was depressed and had been acting like "a mad woman," adding that "she had not been taking her pills", she told the jury.

The court earlier heard that Mrs Griggs had experienced post-natal depression after the birth of her first two sons.

Her GP had stopped prescribing anti-depressants in February 1995.

The trial continues.

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