A ‘reclusive’ Forest Town couple who police believe were murdered and buried in their own back garden were still registered to vote at their Mansfield home at least five years after they went ‘missing’.
William and Patricia Wycherley were the registered occupants at 2 Blenheim Close as late as 2003, despite not being seen by neighbours since the late 1990s.
Residents of the cul-de-sac told Chad that the pair mysteriously vanished in 1998 and the property sat empty until 2005, apart from the regular appearance of ‘a young couple who came and kept the garden tidy’.
It is the latest twist following the macabre discovery, after police descended on the address following a tip-off and removed the skeletal remains of two people on Thursday, 10th October.
Police are now working on the theory that their killer maintained an elaborate lie to cover-up the crime, aimed at fooling friends, relatives and the authorities into a belief that the pair were still alive, it is understood.
The latest revelation comes just days after it emerged that the Wycherley’s signatures appear to have been forged when their house was finally sold in 2005 for £69,000.
Shocked relatives have also come forward to say that they were still receiving Christmas cards from the Wycherleys as late as 2011.
When the couple vanished 15 years ago, neighbours thought that they had emigrated, or moved to the seaside towns of Morecambe or Blackpool, but officers from the East Midlands Major Crime Unit say they are now confident that the pair never left the Mansfield area.
According to documents held by the Land Registry, the Blenheim Close property was sold on August 10th 2005 to its current owner, who police say does not play a part in their investigations.
On the deed transferring ownership of the property, the ‘signatures’ of the vendors, William Geoffrey Wycherley and Patricia Dorothy Wycherley, are written under their printed names.
Meanwhile the couple’s niece, Hilary Rose, of Stone, Staffordshire, has said that she continued to receive Christmas cards until four years ago.
She said: ‘I know this because my mother died in 2009 and a Christmas card arrived two months later.”
Another relative, Vivien Steenson said that Christmas cards signed “Bill and Pat’ were still arriving at her North London home as late as 2011.
A Home Office post-mortem carried out early last week failed to identify the remains of the Wycherleys or offer clues as to how they died.
But after police brought in a bones expert to analyse the remains, officers released an updated statement on Thursday saying it was increasingly likely that the bodies were the missing couple.
Initial findings revealed that one of the skeletons was an elderly white man who was older than 60. He was well-built and between 5ft 7ins to 5ft 9ins tall.
The second set of remains is most likely that of a well-built white woman, who was aged 40 or older and 5ft 5ins to 5ft 7ins tall, police said.
The second set of remains also showed signs of a spinal condition which Patricia Wycherley shared. But officers say that it may be weeks or even months before the bodies can be formally identified or a cause of death established.
Det Chief Insp Rob Griffin, who is leading the inquiry, said: “This latest development does further support our theory that the remains are those of the Wycherleys.
“Bill and Pat, who would be 100 and 79 respectively if they were to still be alive today, were known to be quite reclusive.
“But with help from relatives and old friends we are starting to build a picture of their lives and, more importantly, their movements in 1998, when neighbours say they simply disappeared.
“While we have learned some things about Bill, also known as Geoff, little is known about Pat. We believe her maiden name was Moore. Are you a relation of or were you friends with a Patricia Moore, who we believe was born in Fulham? If so, call us.
“The historic nature of the inquiry means it is a long and complex process. But we are determined to get to the bottom of who was buried in the garden, how they got there and for what reason.”
If you have any information that may help the inquiry contact the incident room on 0115 844 5012 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 55511