Susan Edwards, along with her husband Christopher killed her parents and then spent 15 years lying to others that they were still alive while emptying their bank accounts. Susan Edwards’ parents lived at their modest home at 2 Blenheim Close in Mansfield, England. But till 2013, the back garden of the home had held a dark secret as it was the place where Susan Edwards had buried her parents after shooting them dead along with her husband, Christopher.
The Edwardses had kept their terrible secret for 15 years. During that time, Susan had written fake Christmas cards from her parents and informed other family members that the elderly couple had moved to Ireland. In the meantime, she and Christopher had together stolen around 285,286 Pounds from her parents’ savings and spent the money on buying collection memorabilia. Although the couple might have gotten away with the murder due to their love for collectibles, in the end, they got entangled in their own web of lies. Their story has been adapted into a British miniseries called Landscapers.
How money made Susan Edwards kill
Very little is known about Susan Edwards’ early life. She was born in about 1958 to William Wycherley, who was 46 then, and his wife Patricia, who was 23 then. Patricia was already pregnant when she married William. Susan later claimed that she had had an unhappy childhood. She stated to the police that her father had abused her until she was 11 years old while her mother had stood by and watched silently.
As Susan grew older, her grievances against her parents increased. Susan’s step-grandmother left Susan 10,000 Pounds in the 1970s. This had once belonged to Susan’s maternal grandmother. But Patricia claimed that it actually had belonged to her. Though Susan tried to placate her mother by taking her on a trip to the US and also helping with the down payment on a new house, she later began to see her mother’s ingratitude towards her as cheating her of the inheritance.
In the meantime, Susan worked briefly as a librarian and met her husband, Christopher, through an online dating agency. The pair were drawn to each other by their shared love of memorabilia. Christopher was interested in military history while Susan loved Hollywood’s Golden Age celebrities. They got married in 1983.
However, they isolated themselves from the outside world and spent Christopher’s salary on collecting stamps and autographs. Due to this, their financial difficulties increased. One of the couple’s neighbors later recalled that they always looked as if they were in need of money. They dressed in an old-fashioned manner, didn’t have a car or even a bike.
One local shop owner remembered that Christopher was always mindful of what he spent and was very careful with his money. When he was given change, he would count it very carefully penny by penny. He would stand by the door of the shop and look at the receipt and check it to make sure.
The police later stated that Susan and Christopher thought that there was an easy way to get lots of money fast. Intending to commit murder, they drove to Susan’s parents’ home in the East Midlands for the May Day Bank Holiday in 1998.
At the house, Christopher and Susan shot her parents twice in the chest each, wrapped their bodies in a duvet, and buried them three feet underground in the back garden. The next Tuesday, when the banks reopened, Susan made a withdrawal of 40,000 Pounds from their account. But this was just the start of their deception.
The 15-year deception
Susan and Christopher Edwards guarded their terrible secret for 15 years. As time passed, they made it seem as if Patricia and William were still alive. Susan wrote to a relative in 2007 that with her father being elderly and her mother also not in good health, they had been traveling around Ireland because of the good air there for some years. In 2011, she had said that her parents were enjoying a ‘second youth’ and that it was good to see them with such energy.
All this time, Susan and Christopher were siphoning money from her parents’ accounts. They had set up loans and credit cards under the dead couple’s name, made fake pension and disability documents, and even sold their house with a forged signature. In the meantime, William and Patricia Wycherley still lay beneath the ground and were undetected.
The money which Susan and Christopher had stolen didn’t go into the buying of real estate or savings. Instead, the couple wasted thousands of pounds on celebrity memorabilia. In one instance, they spent 14,000 Pounds on collecting Gary Cooper items while in another they wasted 20,000 Pounds on a collection of autographs.
However, they were worried by 2012, as that year Susan’s father, William Wycherley was to turn 100, and the Department for Work and Pensions had asked for a personal interview with him to mark the event. Buckingham Palace had also enquired about sending a telegram to congratulate Wycherley on reaching his centenary birthday.
Susan and Christopher panicked and fled to Lille, France, along with their most valuable memorabilia. But they discovered that they couldn’t access the bank accounts of Susan’s parents from abroad. However, they refused to sell anything that they had brought with them from the UK. So, as their money started running out, Christopher called up his stepmother to get more. However, his lying instead blew open the case.
How the couple was caught
Elizabeth Edwards got a weird call from her stepson, Christopher in 2013. He said that he needed money. He also told her a shocking story. According to him, his wife Susan was sleeping at her parents’ home in May 1998, when she heard a bang during the night. When she went to inspect, she discovered that her father William had been shot and killed by her mother, Patricia.
After this, things had escalated, according to Christopher. Patricia had mocked her and told her that she had slept with Christopher in 1992. Susan had then shot her mother, according to Christopher. But Christopher hadn’t wanted to go to the police and get his wife arrested.
Susan Edwards repeated the story at her trial and had given more details by claiming that she had hidden her crime from Christopher for a week and that her mother had provoked her by saying that she was an unwanted child and that she and her husband, William had both wanted to abort her. According to Susan, Patricia had also told her that she knew that William had abused her and at some point, during the conversation, she had thrown the gun on the bed and Susan had picked it up.
Susan said that her mother had kept on speaking and that she had asked her to stop saying those things. But her mother had continued and to make her stop talking, Susan had shot her mother in the chest. However, Elizabeth Edwards wasn’t swayed by her stepson’s story. She called the police and told them exactly what Christopher had said.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin later admitted that when the station received the call from Elizabeth Edwards on October 1, 2013, it was difficult to believe that what she said had happened could actually have happened. However, the police took it seriously and started the investigation.
The police dug up the garden of the house at 2 Blenheim Close. On October 9, 2013, they found the remains of William and Patricia Wycherley. Christopher and Susan Edwards who had become penniless and had no alibi soon turned themselves in to the police.
Christopher wrote an e-mail to the police on 30 October that he and Susan would later that day surrender themselves to the UK Border Force Authorities at the Eurostar terminal at Lille Europe station. He said that they would prefer to do this as Susan was already frightened. He requested the Police to notify the UK Border Force at Lille Europe so that they would expect the arrival of him and his wife.
Susan Edwards and the Landscapers miniseries
The police didn’t buy the story of Susan and Christopher. To them, William and Patricia Wycherley’s murder looked more like a premeditated killing than a crime of passion. Firstly, both the victims had been shot twice carefully in the torso. Secondly, the couple’s daughter had immediately withdrawn thousands from their bank account. And thirdly, Susan and Christopher had covered up what they had done for 15 years.
The police suspected that when pressed on by Susan, it was Christopher who had pulled the trigger. He had confessed to having experience with guns and had also been a part of a shooting club. According to DCI Rob Griffin, Susan and Christopher seemed to have planned the murder for some years to exact vengeance for the taking of inheritance that had been due to Susan from her step-grandmother.
They had spent many years planning how they could get some of the money back before deciding on going to Mansfield and killing Susan’s parents who they knew wouldn’t be missed and taking all of their money. Griffin said that he felt that he could describe the whole plan as cold and calculating.
Susan and Christopher Edwards were both found guilty in 2014 and each was punished with at least 25 years in prison for the double murder. According to Griffin, the police were able to separate fact from fiction through good old-style detective work and find out the lies which the Edwardses had said to cover up their crime.
The couple’s story is now being converted into a television miniseries called Landscapers starring Olivia Coleman as Susan Edwards and David Thewlis as Christopher Edwards. It will explore the couple’s desperate attempt to avoid detection by the law. The trailer of the show has a detective asking Susan’s character about whether or not she wants the detectives to know the truth.
However, for Susan Edwards, the truth was a slippery and difficult thing. She preferred living in a world of her own making where she could surround herself with past moments selected by herself and ignore the day in May when she had killed both her parents.