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Remains of woman murdered 20 years ago found in Dorset garden

Debbie Griggs was 34 and pregnant when she went missing from her home in the Kent seaside town of Deal in May 1999.

17 October 2022

The remains of a woman who was murdered by her husband more than 20 years ago have been found buried in a garden in Dorset.

Debbie Griggs was 34 and pregnant when she went missing from her home in the Kent seaside town of Deal in May 1999.

Griggs on trial
Andrew Griggs was found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court in October 2019 of the murder of his pregnant wife, Debbie, who disappeared in May 1999 (Kent Police/PA)

Her husband, Andrew Griggs, was finally found guilty of her murder 20 years later, in October 2019, following a cold case review.

Police received a tip-off two weeks ago that her remains may be in the back garden of a house in St Leonards in Dorset, where Griggs had moved in 2001.

Officers found human remains including teeth fragments which were used to identify Mrs Griggs.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kimber, from 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.”

Andrew Griggs
Andrew Griggs leaving Canterbury Crown Court while on bail during his murder trial (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Tests will be carried out to establish the mother-of-three’s cause of death and detectives will investigate how she came to be buried at the house.

Griggs, 59 and a sailor, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years after he was found guilty of his wife’s murder following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court in October 2019.

Prosecutors had argued he was the person with “the most reason” to wish Mrs Griggs to disappear amid suspicions of him having an affair with a 15-year-old girl, as well as for business reasons.

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