Hunt for Kate Prout's body continues

 

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The Independent Online

The hunt for the body of a woman murdered by her wealthy husband will continue for a second day after police failed to locate her today.

Police began digging for the remains of Kate Prout at the farm in Redmarley, Gloucestershire, where she lived with her millionaire husband Adrian.

The excavation work is taking place in dense woodland on the 276-acre Redhill Farm and police have cordoned off the area and nearby paths and bridleways.

Uniformed officers could be seen coming and going throughout the day and police said the work would continue until Mrs Prout is found.

Prout, 49, was jailed for life last year and told to serve a minimum of 18 years after being found guilty of her murder at Bristol Crown Court.

He had denied killing her, maintaining she had disappeared in November 2007.

In a dramatic twist last week, Prout confessed to killing his wife and burying her body in woodland on their £1.2 million farm, after failing a lie detector test.

On Friday Prout was taken from prison to the farm in handcuffs to show police the spot where he said he dumped her.

Prout's admission from behind bars comes four years after he murdered Mrs Prout, 55, and exactly 12 months since her family last pleaded with him to reveal the truth.

Prout always denied any part in her disappearance as he refused to help officers in their search for the retired teacher.

Police - who said the priority was to bring peace for her family - warned it may still take some time before her remains are found.

Friends had called for his release, claiming there had been a miscarriage of justice, while Prout maintained his innocence.

Prout is said to have told his fiance Debbie Garlick that he strangled his wife after a row and buried her body in woodland on his farm.

Ms Garlick is believed to have subsequently spoken to Gloucestershire Police about his confession.

Prout, who has fathered a child with Ms Garlick after his wife's disappearance, was thought to have strangled her and then used his expertise as a professional pipe-layer to bury her body.

Jurors heard that Mrs Prout had confronted her husband with an increased divorce demand the day before she went missing.

He had offered her a settlement of £600,000 but, after discussion with accountants, she decided to demand £800,000.

The last time anyone heard from her was at 3.29pm on November 5, when she called her bank, First Direct.

Since then no organisations have had any contact with her, including banks and passport agencies.

Even after Prout was jailed, police continued to search Redhill Farm for his wife's remains, but failed to locate her.

On Friday Ms Garlick told ITV Westcountry of her prison visit last week: "He just confessed."

Asked what he said, she replied: "I am sorry, I did ..."

Ms Garlick, who led a campaign proclaiming Prout's innocence, said: "Myself and my family are obviously devastated for the news we received.

"My heart goes out to Kate and her family. I hope this gives them a chance to grieve properly for their sister and have a proper burial and somewhere they can lay flowers."

Ms Garlick, who was accompanied by her sister during the interview, was asked whether having campaigned for her fiance's release, she was devastated at his sudden confession.

"Yeah we were, obviously, but our heart goes out still to Kate and her family," she said.

PA