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Mansfield bodies-in-the-garden case now being treated as double murder, say police

William and Patricia Wycherley disppeared in 1998

A elderly couple are believed to have been murdered and their remains buried in the back garden of their suburban semi-detached house.

William and Patricia Wycherley – who would now be aged 100 and 79 – disappeared in 1998. Detectives in Nottinghamshire believe that two bodies discovered at the quiet cul-de-sac in Mansfield are those of the reclusive couple.

Post-mortem tests have been carried out but have so far proved inconclusive. Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin said the cause of death was not yet known but he was treating the case as a murder inquiry.

“At this time we are unable to categorically say that the remains that have been uncovered are those of the Wycherleys but I am confident that the two sets of skeletal remains are indeed those of Patricia and William,” he said.

The couple moved to the property in 1987. Police began excavating after receiving a tip of about an “incident” in the late 1990s. Neighbours described how the couple had disappeared, with some believing they had emigrated. It was reported that family members had been receiving Christmas cards signed "Bill and Pat" as recently as four years ago.

The present owners are not part of the investigation.