Hunt for Kate Prout's body set for third day


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The Independent Online

The hunt for the body of a woman murdered by her husband will continue for a third day after failing to locate her remains today.

Police have been digging on millionaire Adrian Prout's former farm at Redmarley, Gloucestershire, for the corpse of his wife Kate and have now widened the search area.

Last week Prout, 49, led officers to an area of 250 square metres on Redhill Farm where he said he had buried the former teacher.

The businessman had always denied murdering Mrs Prout but dramatically confessed in prison.

The excavation work, which started yesterday, is taking place in dense woodland on the 276-acre farm and police have cordoned off the area and nearby paths and bridleways.

Gloucestershire Police, who have been using specialist radar equipment, said that "nothing of significance" has been found so far.

Det Supt Simon Atkinson, who is overseeing the search, said: "Adrian Prout indicated to us that a plot of land measuring approximately 250 square metres was where he had buried Mrs Prout.

"We have subjected part of that area to ground penetrating radar testing and dug some of the ground with the assistance of a forensic archaeologist. However, nothing has yet been found.

"We are today widening the search area, working methodically outwards.

"This is a delicate and painstaking process.

"We are seeking advice from body deposition experts and the National Policing Improvement Agency in order to further the process.

"This search could, however, take some time and our thoughts are always with Kate Prout's family, who we are keeping constantly updated."

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

He had denied killing his wife, maintaining that she had disappeared in November 2007.

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

On Friday, he 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 came four years after he murdered his 55-year-old wife and exactly 12 months since her family last pleaded with him to reveal the truth.

He has always denied any part in her disappearance as he refused to help officers in their search for her.

Prout is said to have told his fiancee, 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 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.

On Friday, Ms Garlick told ITV Westcountry of her prison visit last week.

"He just confessed," she said.

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