Stockport murder: 63-year-old woman arrested after body found buried in garden

Barbara Coombes arrested after walking into police station and confessing to killing man 'a number of years ago'

Chris Baynes
Thursday 11 January 2018 09:51
A forensics officer at the scene of a murder investigation in Matlock Road, Stockport
A forensics officer at the scene of a murder investigation in Matlock Road, Stockport

A woman whose father has been missing for years has been charged with murder after telling police she had killed a man and buried his body in her back garden.

Barbara Coombes, 63, of Matlock Road, Reddish, Stockport, is also accused of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body, fraud by false representation, and obtaining a pecuniary advantage.

Police have been investigating the disappearance of her father, Kenneth Coombes, who has not been seen for 10 to 15 years.

Greater Manchester Police said Ms Coombes walked into Cheadle Heath police station on Sunday to tell officers she had killed a man "a number of years ago". The confession prompted police to dig up her back garden, where they found human remains.

Officers have gone door-to-door handing a questionnaire to neighbours to say they are investigating the death of Mr Coombes, who would have turned 99 this week.

Ms Coombes was remanded in custody and set to appear at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning.

Residents of her quiet suburban street have spoken of their shock after after murder squad detectives discovered the remains of the man’s body.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said he first noticed a white forensic tent go up in the garden on Sunday.

He said: "You never expect anything like this on your doorstep.

"All the neighbours are shocked and everyone is talking about it, but no one seems to know much about that family."

Neighbour Stella Ashton said: "You can see the back garden from the back of our house.

"We could see two forensic tents, it was all very, very bright, lit up last night, very, very bright and the light was reflecting off the white of the tents."

"It's all covered but you could see activity going on."

One neighbour described Ms Coombes as a quiet woman, only ever seen out walking her small dog when she would say no more than “hello” to passers-by.

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