Published: 11:09, 02 October 2019
| Updated: 11:42, 02 October 2019
The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife has begun.
Debbie Griggs was 34 when she went missing 20 years ago from her home in Cross Road, Deal.
At the time she disappeared in May 1999, the mum of three boys was four-and-a-half months pregnant.
Her white Peugeot 309 car was found a week later in The Shrubbery, Walmer.
Despite searches and many appeals from her family, Debbie never returned nor did she attend important scans for her unborn baby. Her body was never found.
Her husband Andrew, now remarried and living in Ringwood Road, St Leonard's, Dorset, was charged with Debbie's murder on March 12 this year. His trial started this morning.
At the time the charges were revealed, a Criminal Prosecution Service spokesman said it followed a review of evidence.
On March 14, Griggs appeared at Maidstone Crown Court via video link from Elmley Prison. He was bailed when his new wife posted a £70,000 surety.
His strict bail conditions included a tagged curfew from 6pm to 6am. These timings were changed to 8pm until 4am at a hearing on April 10 because Griggs runs a fishing business.
On Friday, May 17, he appeared at the Old Bailey via videolink from Bournemouth Crown Court where he entered a not guilty plea.
For many years Debbie was classed as missing. Her mum Pat Cameron of Wilson Avenue made repeated calls for Debbie to come home.
"Following a review of the evidence, we have authorised Kent Police to charge Mr Griggs with the murder of his wife, Debbie Griggs, in 1999..." - Nigel Pilkington Senior Crown Prosecutor
In March 2007 the Griggs' marriage was dissolved by a decree of presumption of Debbie's death. The house was sold and a statement was released saying that Debbie's share of their home would be divided between their sons.
Kent Police have not commented ahead of the trial.
At the time the charges were issued, Senior Crown Prosecutor Nigel Pilkington said: “In December 2018, the Crown Prosecution Service received a file of evidence from Kent Police relating to an allegation of murder against Andrew Griggs.
“Following a review of the evidence, we have authorised Kent Police to charge Mr Griggs with the murder of his wife, Debbie Griggs, in 1999."
Debbie's mum Patricia Cameron, died in January. She never learned what happened to her daughter. Her boys moved with their father to Dorset.
The trial, at Canterbury Crown Court, is expected to last up to four weeks.
More by this authorBeth Robson