Home   Deal   News   Article

Andrew Griggs loses bid to overturn his conviction for murdering wife Debbie Griggs

A husband jailed for murdering his pregnant wife more than two decades ago has failed in his attempt to have his conviction overturned.

Mother-of-three Debbie Griggs disappeared aged 34 from the family home in Deal, on May 5, 1999 and has not been seen since.

Debbie with her three children. Picture: Mike Waterman
Debbie with her three children. Picture: Mike Waterman

In 2019, her husband Andrew Griggs, 59, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years after he was found guilty of her murder following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court.

Prosecutors had argued he was the person with “the most reason” to wish Debbie to disappear amid suspicions of him having an affair with a 15-year-old girl, as well as for business reasons.

At a Court of Appeal hearing today, Michael Magarian QC, for Griggs, argued the murder conviction was “unsafe” and there were at least six grounds for appeal.

Mr Magarian said Mr Justice Spencer should not have allowed evidence relating to allegations of Griggs’s sexual relationship with the teenage girl to be presented at the trial.

He argued that admission of such evidence caused prejudice against Griggs when it came to the jury deliberating the charge of murder.

Andrew Griggs was jailed for life in 2019
Andrew Griggs was jailed for life in 2019

“The fact that a man is being unfaithful to his wife does not automatically give grounds that he had a motive to kill her,” he said.

“That’s an unfair and unreasonable chain of reasoning.”

Mr Magarian later added that Griggs “was having to field a rape allegation in the middle of a murder trial”.

He said the judge did not give sufficient warning to the jury of the prejudice this could cause against Griggs, saying: “It called for a serious judicial directive and that did not occur.”

Mr Magarian also argued the prosecution’s case “did not amount to much” and predominantly consisted of circumstantial evidence, all of which was known to prosecutors in 2003 when they had originally ruled there was “no realistic prospect of conviction”.

Debbie Griggs as a nurse
Debbie Griggs as a nurse

However, judges dismissed all the arguments and denied Griggs the opportunity to overturn his conviction.

On there being any grounds for appeal, Mr Justice Holroyde said: “We are satisfied there are not.

“An appeal would be bound to fail.”

Mr Justice Holroyde argued the evidence relating to the alleged affair was of “obvious and unmistakable relevance” to the murder charge as it provided context to the disintegration of the Griggs’ marital relationship.

In terms of the evidence being prejudicial to the jury and the judge’s direction to that effect, he said: “In our view, it was appropriate and sufficient.”

At the 2019 murder trial, the judge accused Griggs - a sailor - of dumping Debbie's body at sea.

The prosecution had argued Griggs carried out the crime after Debbie found out about an affair he was having with a 15-year-old.

But Griggs - who later remarried and moved to Dorset - insisted she had left the family home in a rage after he came home from work and fell asleep.

Her car - a white Peugeot 309 - was found abandoned days after her disappearance, 1.3 miles from their home in Cross Road, Walmer.

Debbie’s blood was recovered from the vehicle.

There has been no trace of Debbie, or signs of life since her disappearance between May 5 and 6 1999.

After the trial, Debbie's family made a plea for Andrew to reveal where her body is.

In 2020, the former couple's three children launched a social media page called 'Find our Mum'.

The boys, who were aged six, four and 18 months at the time of Debbie's disappearance, said they believed their dad is innocent and their mum is still alive.

On the Facebook page they asked for information to help locate her.

They wrote: "This page has been launched for the sole purpose of finding our mum, Debbie Elizabeth Griggs (Cameron) who we believe was not murdered by our father but is still alive.

"It has not been set up to cause upset or distress.

"Every human on this planet is permitted to have an opinion. That is their right.

"We respect that right. All we ask is that you in return respect ours.

"We are only interested in finding our mum.

"Anyone posting/sending cruel or malicious, hateful messages will not be tolerated and will be dealt with accordingly.

"Please like and share so that we can reach as many people as possible in the hope of finding our mum, thank you."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More