Murder cases without a body 'are not that rare'

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Cases of murder where the victim's body has not been found are "not as rare as one might think", a Crown prosecutor said today.

Brian Pixton, who works with the South West Complex Casework Unit, built up the case against Adrian Prout, who was convicted today of murdering his estranged wife Kate Prout.

Prout's conviction follows a so-called "no body" investigation as - after disappearing more than two years ago - Mrs Prout's body has never been found.

But Mr Pixton said this was not as rare as some might believe.

He said: "This was an unusual case for the Crown Prosecution Service, though I have to say, not rare."

He added: "Cases of murder where the victim's body has not been found, while not common, are not as rare as one might think. Nationally, there are several each year."

Mr Pixton explained how the prosecution service built its case from Mrs Prout's disappearance on November 5 2007 to Prout's trial, which started on January 12 this year.

He said: "We had a case where no body was ever found and therefore no creating of a forensic link between Adrian Prout and his wife's disappearance.

"What we did have was evidence to show that this crime was premeditated, Adrian Prout had a means of concealing her body and also a reason to do so.

"The South West Complex Case Work Unit took on this case at an early stage when it became apparent it would be a complex and lengthy investigation. The unit deals with serious and organised crime throughout the south west.

"We worked closely with the Gloucestershire Constabulary, and a number of expert witnesses, to make sure we would be able to present every available piece of evidence to this jury at court.

"The code of the crown prosecutors dictates we must have sufficient evidence for a good prospect of conviction before we charge a suspect.

"The evidence that the court heard included evidence of motive, evidence of means and also the evidence of the extra-marital affair that he was engaged in."

He added: "Clearly we felt there was sufficient evidence in this case, but the final decision rests with the jury."