Remains found in hunt for Kate Prout's body


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Human remains believed to be those of Kate Prout, who was murdered by her husband four years ago, were found by police today.

They were discovered close to where Adrian Prout told police he had buried her body after dramatically confessing last week to the murder.

Specialist forensic experts and cadaver dogs have been searching woodland on the £1.2 million farm in Redmarley, Gloucestershire, for four days.

Prout, 49, had previously maintained that his wife disappeared in November 2007, but he was convicted of her murder in February last year.

On Friday he was brought to the farm from his prison cell in handcuffs and took detectives to the area where he believed he had buried the 55-year-old.

Speaking at a police cordon at Cobhill woods Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson, of Gloucestershire Police, said: "At one o'clock this afternoon we have found human remains close to the location Adrian Prout identified as the place he buried his wife.

"No formal identification has taken place; however, we have informed Kate's family of recent developments.

"I do hope that this will be the final chapter of these harrowing events for Kate's family."

Prout's admission came to his fiancee, Debbie Garlick, a year after Mrs Prout's family last pleaded with him to reveal the truth.

Ms Garlick told ITV Westcountry he had revealed the truth during a prison visit last week.

"He just confessed," she said.

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

Today, on her way back from a prison meeting with Prout, she told the broadcaster he had not known about the discovery during her visit, and that her thoughts were with Mrs Prout's family.

The former teacher's relatives had expressed their shock after Prout finally revealed where he had buried her body.

The remains found by police are due to be removed with formal identification expected in the coming days.

Gloucestershire Police, who in 2007 launched one of their largest police searches to find Mrs Prout, described the search over the past four days as "challenging".

Specialist dogs, trained to locate decomposed bodies, were taken to the site along with a body deposition expert who was flown in by helicopter.

Prout had shown officers an area of 300 square yards (250 square metres) on Redhill Farm but was unable to give her exact location.

"We have been searching for nearly four days, and that perhaps gives you an indication of just how tough it has been," Mr Atkinson said.

"Adrian Prout has not been able to give us a precise location and that's why it has taken so long, but it's within the area he indicated."

Police have used diggers and forensic archaeologists, as well as cadaver dogs in the extensive search of an area of dense woodland that measured 33ft (10m) by 66ft( 20m).

Police were joined by a team from Specialist Group International, based in Surrey, who are leading experts in forensic search and recovery.

Ground penetrating radar was also used and two mechanical diggers worked in tandem with two teams of forensic archaeologists who assessed the geography of the land that was being searched.

On Tuesday the search was widened beyond the area inside a pheasant enclosure Prout used to run shoots before he was jailed.

Prout's confession from behind bars came after he failed a lie detector test.

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

During the trial last year 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.

Despite no body being found a jury found him guilty of murder.

He was jailed for life at Bristol Crown Court last year and told to serve a minimum of 18 years.