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Debbie Griggs murder trial: 'Controlling' suspect 'groomed' girl, 15

A “controlling” fisherman murdered his pregnant wife while “grooming a confused” child, a court heard.

Andrew Griggs, 57, denies killing wife Debbie, then aged 34, and dumping her body 20 years ago in Deal.

KMTV reports on the trial

The mother-of-three, whose body has never been found, was suspicious Griggs was seeing a 15-year-old girl, a jury was told.

Today the woman he was allegedly seeing claimed she was “groomed and confused” before shouting “he’s a paedophile” under cross-examination at Canterbury Crown Court.

The expletive came when Grigg’s barrister Nic Lobbenberg QC quizzed the defendant over an explicit letter she wrote to the defendant, allegedly at the time of their sexual relationship.

“You were saying in the letter that you loved him and you didn’t want to split up with him. And that you dream about making love,” the barrister said.

Andrew Griggs
Andrew Griggs

“Does a 14-year-old know what love is though?” the girl replied.

She added: “I don’t think you understand how much he gets in someone’s head - how he gets so much control over someone.”

When Mr Lobbenberg QC asked if the letter reflected her feelings at the time she replied: “Maybe a little bit, but I was a child, you don’t know your feelings when you’re a child.”

“I have to suggest to you there was no sexual relationship,” the barrister added.

“Well you suggest wrong (sic) then don’t you,” she responded.

Debbie Griggs on the day she married husband Andrew, who is accused of murdering her
Debbie Griggs on the day she married husband Andrew, who is accused of murdering her

After his wife disappeared from the family home, Griggs denied seeing the teenage girl when quizzed by police.

But she told the court Griggs was “a bit edgy” on May 7, the day after Debbie vanished, and so she visited their home in Cross Road.

Griggs reportedly said Debbie had "gone walkabouts" of her own accord and asked the girl to visit the property.

“Normally he’s all clean shaven, but he wasn’t that day, he had stubble - (he seemed)a bit edgy,” she said.

She added Griggs disappeared for more than two hours, claiming he needed to visit the family's Freezer Centre business in town and a sailing shop.

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When Duncan Atkinson QC asked how Griggs spoke about Debbie prior to her disappearance, she said: “He’d moan about her.

“He would say she was moaning at him for not doing stuff, moaning at the kids, moaning in general, about her.

“He never had anything nice to say about her.”

Neighbour Alice Vurley, 74, who lived in Cross Road at the time, called it “unusual” after seeing Debbie’s white Peugoet leaving the Griggs home at about 4am. The pensioner worked in Somerfield’s supermarket at the time, and told the jury she regularly saw “absolutely lovely” Debbie with the children.

“I saw a white car come up the drive, I stood back a little, I didn’t want them to see me.

“Then it came to the top of the drive and turned right up to the top of the road - it went past my bungalow,” she explained.

Griggs, the last person to see his wife alive and well, told officers she was "in the habit of going walkabouts" at the time of his arrest.

She would also become fed up caring for the children and left between 30-40 times prior, he said in police interview.

Griggs, now living at St Leonard’s, Dorset, denies murder. His defence is yet to be heard.

The trial continues.

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To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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