Published: 11:03, 14 March 2019
| Updated: 11:16, 14 March 2019
A husband accused of murdering his wife after she went missing almost 20 years ago was today granted bail.
Debbie Griggs was four-and-a-half months pregnant when she disappeared from her home in Cross Road, Walmer, Deal, in May 1999.
Balding Andrew Griggs, now of Ringwood Road, St Leonards, Dorset, was charged with her murder this week.
Despite objections from the prosecution, High Court Judge Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb granted the 56-year-old bail under strict conditions.
Griggs, who spoke only to be identified when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court by TV link with Elmley Prison, will have to live and sleep at his Dorset address and report to his local police station daily.
He will also be subject to a tagged curfew from 6pm to 6am and not apply for international travel documents. He must not contact any witnesses in the case.
A £70,000 surety was posted by Griggs’ partner, who sat in the public gallery during the hearing.
He will enter a plea on April 9. A provisional trial date was set for September 2.
Mrs Griggs was 34 when she went missing late on the evening of Wednesday, May 5 1999.
Despite extensive searches and appeals for information, police were unable to find the mother-of-three.
Her mother, Patricia Cameron, died in January, without learning of her daughter's fate.
Prosecutor Michael Bisgrove said Griggs was charged after the case was kept under constant review.
Mrs Griggs, he said, was last seen at about 6.15pm on May 5 and her last contact with a friend she had arranged to meet the following morning was at 7.40pm.
She did not have personal possessions, including her handbag and purse, with her. Her car was later found about 15 minutes walk from her home.
Syam Somi, defending, said members of Griggs’ family present had asked for the bail application to be heard in open court and the judge agreed. He added that Griggs was in “ailing” health.
Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb ruled: “The prosecution has not persuaded me it is necessary to withhold bail, despite the gravity of the offence.”
Mr Griggs was charged with her murder on Tuesday.