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Debbie Griggs murder trial: Mother feared she was in danger from husband following threats

A pregnant wife allegedly murdered by her husband told a court she was in danger, months before her disappearance, a court heard.

Andrew Griggs, 57, denies killing and dumping the body of mother-of-three Debbie Griggs from Deal.

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

Debbie disappeared from the pair’shome in Cross Road on May 5 1999. Her body has not been found.

A court heard yesterdaythat Debbie had said in an affidavit Griggs threatened to “sort her out” and was “afraid what he will do next.”

The evidence came as Debbie challenged a non-molestation order made by Griggs in the March before she disappeared, requesting she left the property.

Griggs told the court Debbie was “volatile”, had bitten him and was “worried about what she will do and when she will attack me next.”

But in response Debbie claimed Griggs was “potentially dangerous” and filed a non-molestation order against the fisherman.

'"Debbie was a caring mum and wouldn’t have left of her own accord.."Joanne Christian

Extracts read in Canterbury Crown Court said: “During the course of my marriage my husband has been bombastic, bullying and generally wanting to control every element of my life.

“(He has) threatened to get me sorted.

“I’m genuinely concerned for my own safety and the safety of my own children.

“I will state that he has never actually hit me but I’m genuinely scared he will hit me.

“I am afraid what he will do next.

“If the court orders he lives back at home with me it will be ordering me and my child to live in an unhappy and potentially dangerous environment.”

The pair settled by way of an undertaking then moved in together again before issues re-surfaced, the jury was told.

Friend Joanne Christian told the jury Debbie would soon become upset, complaining Griggs was seeing a 15-year-old girl before she vanished.

She added Debbie was a caring mum and wouldn’t have left of her own accord.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC asked her: “The following day, the 6th May, did you take your daughter to primary school, did you see Debbie?”

“No,” she replied.

“Did someone take the children to school?”

“Yes, Andrew.”

Andrew Griggs
Andrew Griggs

“Had he ever done that before?”

“No,” she said.

She told the jury Griggs claimed Debbie left during a row and “always goes off in a temper.”

“Knowing Debbie as you did, her upping and leaving, did that accord with your knowledge (of her) or not?”

“She would never do that,” Ms Christian replied.

Debbie’s bank and medical records have shown “no sign of life” since her disappearance.

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.

Read more from the trial:

Asked what her thoughts were on seeing the nocturnal activity she replied: “I thought it was unusual for Debbie to be going out at that time.”

She added it was unclear who was driving or how many people were inside the car.

The next morning Ms Vurley would see Griggs drive along Mill Hill towards Cross Road, in his jeep with the children at around 7.30am.

Neighbour Anne Warren, who has since died, told officers in a statement in 2003 she also saw a car reverse out the drive the same morning.

“It was dark and street lights were on, I couldn’t see who was driving the car or how many people were in the car it look to me to be Debbie’s car.

“The car lights were on, it reversed off the drive and drove off towards Mill Hill.”

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

The trial continues.

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