Worker who found ‘murdered’ woman’s bones in septic tank ‘assumed they were from chickens’

David Venables, 89, of Kempsey, Worcestershire, is on trial accused of murdering his wife Brenda in 1982 and hiding her bones in a cesspool on his farm

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David Venables: Police search property after 2019 murder

A worker assumed a farmer’s wife’s bones were from a small animal and threw them over the hedge, a court heard.

David Venables, 89, is accused of killing Brenda Vendables, who was reported missing from the couple’s home in Kempsey, Worcestershire 40 years ago.

He was arrested in 2019 after police discovered human remains – including a skull – in the cesspool of the farmhouse he had since moved from.

Venables was brought to trial today at Worcester Crown Court and charged with committing the murder between 2nd and 5th May 1982.

The court heard Venables report his then 48-year-old wife to police as missing, telling officers she had been depressed.

David Venables is accused of murdering his wife



But detectives launched a murder investigation after Venable’s nephew Andrew moved into the property and Brenda’s skeletal remains were uncovered.

The jury was told he killed Brenda because he “wanted to get her out of the way” so he could resume a “long-standing” affair with nurse Lorraine Styles.

Prosecutor Michael Burrows QC said Brenda’s remains were eventually found by maintenance workers who had emptied the septic tank and who first noticed “small bones” causing a blockage which they threw away.

Brenda Venables disappeared in 1982


Worcester News)

Brenda’s remains were found in a cesspool on the farm


Tristan Potter / SWNS)

Mr Burrows continued: “When he (a worker) saw the bones, he assumed they were from a small animal such as a chicken and threw the bones over the nearby hedge.

“The second time was on July 9, 2018. He had a similar blockage again.

“Again he threw away the bones he had found over the hedge.

“He also found some hairs that he now realizes may have been human hairs.”

Police in front of Venable’s house


Adam Hughes / SWNS)

Another company was called to clear the tank a third time, and a human skull was found.

Mr Burrows said: “Alistair Pitt was the staff member who was present and started emptying the tank.

“Like others before him, he got a blockade. He found a large tuft of hair.

“He says it’s not unusual to find hair, but it was unusual to see the amount he found.

“He saw what he thought was a bag in the tank. He used a pickaxe to lift the item out of the tank.

Quaking Farm, Kempsey, Worcestershire, where human remains were found



“It looked to him like some kind of burlap or sacking with some fairly large bones inside.

“He thought they were too big to be dog bones, as Andrew Venables suggested to him.

“He saw something else at the bottom of the tank. It resembled a large rock. He used the hoe to turn it over and saw that it was a human skull.

“His words: ‘I’ve never been in this situation before and didn’t really know what to do, so I let the owner sort it out’.

“He called the police and a short time later a couple of uniformed police officers arrived.”

The court heard officers found a notebook in Venable’s car


Adam Hughes / SWNS)

The court heard that after the remains were removed, forensic investigators could not confirm a cause of death because of the “extensive composition.”

Also recovered from the septic tank were half a pair of M&S panties, a bra, and threads of a sweater, which have been dated to around the 1960s to mid-1970s.

The jury was told that after Venables was arrested, officers found a book about Fred and Rose West in his bedroom.

Venables is on trial at Worcester Crown Court


BPM media)

Mr Burrows said: “On July 15, 2019, police officers went to David Venables’ home and told him they had found what they believed to be human remains in the septic tank at Quaking House Farm.

“He said it was strange as the tank had been emptied several times. He said there had been a thorough search for his wife’s disappearance.

“He also said he knew another woman around the same time who had disappeared.

“He said she was picked up by Fred West and managed to get out of his car.”

On July 30, 2019, a police officer went to Venable’s home again and arrested him, prosecutors said.

On the back of the car parked outside, investigators found a notebook containing a handwritten document.

Mr Burrows said it was captioned: “This is a true and honest statement of fact regarding the disappearance of my wife Brenda Margaret in May 1982”.

He continued, “David Venables obviously expected to be arrested and interviewed and was preparing what to say.”

The process will continue tomorrow. Worker who found 'murdered' woman's bones in septic tank 'assumed they were from chickens'

Fry Electronics Team

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