Can you imagine dragging two dead, bleeding bodies down a couple of flights of stairs, not long after you’ve just shot them.
Can you imagine digging a pit in the dead of night, throwing the corpses in and covering them with topsoil.
Can you imagine going to B&Q the following morning and buying a load of bedding plants to cover the burial scene.
Can you imagine spending the next seven years routinely going back to the burial site to keep it maintained, to keep it looking normal, to stop it from drawing attention.
Ironically, this very act did just that.
In the years following the Wycherley’s murders, the only thing that neighbours found odd was ‘the young couple’ – Susan and Chrisopher Edwards – turning up, from time to time to do the garden.
It’s one of the first things that I was told, and it has, ultimately, created the title for the new drama that will be made later this year.
It goes a little too far, I would suggest.
In their evidence, Susan and Christopher claimed it was really an act of panic – they were faced with two dead bodies, they had to get rid of them to evade capture. They thought about hiding the Wycherleys’ remains in the attic, but they realised that they would smell, and neither of them had the physical strength to lug the remains of two dead adults over their heads, up a ladder and into a loft space.
But they could take them downwards . . . gravity would help.
So they had lumped them down the stairs; heads banding on step after step; William “as stiff as a board”, Patricis “loose and gurgling” . . . blood pouring out of her.
It would ultimately be part of their story that would lead to their conviction.
Neither of the Edwards were big people.
Christopher was slight; Susan slighter . . . and the notion of them dragging these two, dead human forms down the stairs, through the lounge and into their, almost, final resting place, seemed almost impossible, when it was described during their prosecution.
But they did it.
I have questioned over the years, was this an act of desperation; was this an act of greed and necessity?
Was it both?
In many ways, and this is a key theme of the book; William and Patricia were victims of Susan and Christopher, but Susan was a victim of William, Christopher was a victim of William.
Patricia was more innocent . . . although guilty by her ‘blind eyes’ to her husband’s behaviour. Maybe she just wanted a quiet life. I don’t know.
Was Christopher a victim of Susan. That’s a tricky one. Possibly . . . I would say.
But at what point, after you’ve been bullied and abused – physically, sexually and emotionally – do you become a criminal?
We live in a culture of victims and perpetrators; but the criminal justice system, the courts and the press, never really contemplate the victim . . . or whether they actually deserved the bullets that they got.
William Wycherley was not a nice man. William Wycherley did terrible things. And yet in this black and white world of ‘goodies and baddies’, he is the victim in all of this all the same . . . the vulnerable daughter who he abused, the villain. And maybe we need to look at situations like this through differently-tinted spectacles.