A killer couple who murdered the wife’s parents and buried them in their back garden are described as ‘still very much in love’ despite serving live sentences – according to the screenwriter of a new four-part drama about their exploits.
Christopher and Susan Edwards, both now 63, killed William and Patricia Wycherley at their home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in May 1998.
They spent 15 years living off the Wycherleys’ pensions and the proceeds of their house sale, telling relatives the elderly pair had gone to Ireland before the grisly affair came to light.
Now, the story has been recreated in new Sky drama Landscapers, written by Ed Sinclair, husband of actress Olivia Colman – who plays Susan, while Harry Potter star David Thewlis plays the role of Christopher.
Sinclair researched the couple’s story extensively and revealed they ‘are still very much in love, as far as you can be when you’re in two different prisons,’ the Sunday Express reports.
Sky Original drama Landscapers, starring David Thewlis and Olivia Colman, tells a unique love story about a seemingly ordinary couple who become the focus of an extraordinary investigation
Christopher Edwards and wife Susan were found guilty of murdering her parents following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court in June 2014
The dark comedy-drama features fantasy sequences, including wild west shootouts based on Mrs Edwards’ love of comboy movies and the couple’s collection of film memorabilia, which included an autograph of Gary Cooper purchased for nearly £3,000.
Sinclair said: ‘The revelation that Susan had been sexually assaulted by her father, which was not well-reported, seemed to explain the whole thing.
‘It may have been this trauma that caused her to have less of a grip on reality. It seemed incredibly evident to me that Susan and Christopher loved each other very much.
‘They are still together and still very much in love, as far as you can be when you’re in two different prisons for 25 years.’
The bodies of Mr and Mrs Wycherley were discovered wrapped in bedding in a makeshift grave in their back garden in October 2013 – over 15 years after they were murdered
The only two phtotographs police found of Mr Wycherley after discovery of the bodies. Photos of his wife Patricia have not been seen in public since. The couple were twice shot with a WWII revolver and buried in the garden of their Mansfield home in Nottinghamshire.
Olivia Colman said: ‘I’m very grateful that Ed asked me to do the project. I was able to keep a distance [from the material]. I’m not at all a method actor.’
David Thewlis added: ‘I approached the whole thing by forgetting about the crime and just looking at their relationship.
‘Thinking about how stressful it was to live their life but not actually thinking about what they’d done. Not for a long time.
‘We didn’t really know about the real people at all.We never met them and we can’t really speak for them publicly.
‘We’re here to pay service to this project so it was very easy for us to remove ourselves from the real story.We were making this and not something which is more socially realistic.’
Olivia Colman and David Thewlis star as Susan and Christopher Edwards in Landscapers
In October 2014, the Edwards were sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years each at Nottingham Crown Court for the murder of her parents and burying the bodies in unmarked graves.
Between the murder in 1998 and the discovery of the bodies, the Edwards’ stole £280,000 from the dead couple through their pensions and benefits and selling their home.
The couple, who married in 1983, faced financial difficulties over many years but saw an opportunity following the brutal murder of the Wycherleys.
A Second World War Commando Colt .38 calibre revolver of the type police say was used in the murders of William and Patricia Wycherley
Susan and Christopher spent the next 15 years keeping up an elaborate charade that her parents’ were still alive, looting the Wycherleys bank accounts and spending thousands on celebrity autographs and memorabilia
The cards and letters sent by Susan Edwards to relatives claimed her parents had decided to tour Ireland ‘because of the good air’
Susan and Christopher told family members that her parents were travelling in Ireland in 2011
Following the killings, Susan cleared £40,000 from two bank accounts in the names of her parents, before closing the account and opening another in the name of herself and her mother.
The total amount diverted into the joint account was said at trial to be £245,705, although this was later revised upwards to £286,285.
The charade collapsed in October 2013 when the Edwards received a letter from the ‘authorities’ requesting to interview Mr Wycherley as his 100th birthday approached.
After finding the note from the Centenarian Society in 2012, the couple panicked and fled their east London home for Lille, France. While asking to borrow money, Mr Edwards confessed to his stepmother where the Wycherleys were buried and she contacted police – leading to their arrests.
- Landscapers, Sky Atlantic, Tuesday, 9pm
CARDS AND LETTERS FULL OF LIES: HOW HUSBAND AND WIFE DUPED FAMILY INTO THINKING THE WYCHERLEYS WERE STILL ALIVE
The jury in the Edwards’ trial at Nottingham Crown Court heard extracts from letters and cards purporting to be from the Wycherleys.
Oct 2005: Posing as Mr Wycherley declining an appointment at a chest clinic: ‘(I’m) feeling better, and I will be visiting with relatives over the next months: for that reason it is not convenient to make an appointment.’
Dec 2006: Declining a free pneumonia vaccine: ‘As I will be staying with relatives…I would prefer not to be sent letters offering me vaccines I will not want.’
Christmas 2007: Cards or letters sent by Susan Edwards to relatives claimed her parents had decided to tour Ireland ‘because of the good air’.
2009: Describing breaking the news to her father of his sister’s death, she wrote: ‘He can get quite confused and upset…he has never mentioned it again because it upsets him too much I think.’
2011: In a Christmas card to relatives about her parents travelling in Ireland, she said her father was ‘having his second youth’, adding: ‘It is good to see them with such zest.’