Published: 14:17, 12 March 2019
| Updated: 11:09, 14 March 2019
The husband of a Deal woman who has been missing for almost 20 years has been charged with murder.
Debbie Griggs was four and a half months pregnant when she disappeared from her home in Cross Road in May 1999.
Her husband Andrew, 56, of Ringwood Road, St Leonards, Dorset was charged this morning following a file of evidence being passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.
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."
The news comes after Debbie's mum Patricia Cameron, died in January, having never learned of her daughter's fate.
Detective Superintendent Paul Fotheringham, head of major crime at Kent Police, said: "Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate executed a warrant on the morning of Tuesday, March 12, 2019 to bring Mr Griggs before Medway Magistrates’ Court where he is appearing the same day.
"Debbie Griggs was 34 years old when she went missing from her home in Walmer, Deal, late on the evening of Wednesday 5 May 1999.
"Despite extensive searches and appeals for information detectives were unable to locate Debbie, who was a devoted mother of three young children and expecting her fourth child."
Speaking after the news broke this afternoon, Debbie's father Brian Cameron said: "I knew nothing about it before 6.30am this morning when a police inspector knocked on the door. I am surprised, this is all so raw."
The mystery surrounding her death has caused huge public interest.
Missing posters were put up in public places across East Kent and sent to police stations around the country.
Her white Peugeot 309 was found abandoned in The Shrubbery, Walmer and was found a week after she was last seen.
The hunt for her involved more than 20 officers, a search adviser and a Metropolitan Police helicopter. Officers launched a nationwide hunt, sending her details to forces around Britain in the hope she may be traced in another part of the country.
Her mother also enlisted the help of mediums including Joe Power in 2007.
She leaves three children, Jeremy, seven, Jake, four, and Luke 18 months at the time she vanished.
Griggs appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on March 14 where he was granted bail.