Published: 10:56, 17 October 2019
| Updated: 11:10, 17 October 2019
Extracts from interviews between the police and a man accused of murdering his wife 20 years ago have been read to a jury.
Retired police officer Edwin Tingley was one of the officers who interviewed Andrew Griggs in May 1999 following the disappearance of his wife Debbie from their home in Deal earlier that month.
In an interview Griggs told officers that on May 5, the day his wife went missing, he fell asleep in a chair at their home in Cross Road, Walmer, at about 7pm.
His wife was in the kitchen.
“I nodded off and the next thing I knew was when Debbie woke me up shouting and screaming,” Griggs said in his interview.
“She was saying things like it’s all right for you to come home and fall asleep. I am at home all day with the boys, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“She was behind me and walked out to the kitchen and the back door and drove off. It was a matter of seconds and she upped and went out the door. She had her coat on and flung her bag over her shoulder as she went out.”
Griggs, who denies murdering his wife, said she had done this before and had come back so he was not concerned. He went to bed. The next day his wife was not at home and her car was missing.
He drove around the area looking for her and rang her friends.
“I didn’t know what to do,” he told police. “Debbie’s mum came up and was not overly concerned. We discussed phoning the police and I made the decision to phone them.”
The couple had separated for three weeks earlier that year and had seen solicitors about a divorce but put it on hold.
Asked by the police if he had done that because he could not afford to divorce his wife Griggs said: “No, I put the divorce on hold because I did not want it.”
Read more from the trial:
A police officer interviewing Griggs said to him: “Between 7.30pm and 11pm something happened in that house.” Griggs replied: “I fell asleep. I have not done anything to my wife. I haven’t a clue why she disappeared.”
In July 2002 Griggs was again interviewed by police in Poole. He denied having a sexual relationship with a girl of 15.
The court heard last week that the girl also denied it until a love letter was found by the new owners of Griggs' freezer shop in South Street. It prompted the girl to admit the affair and she accused him of "grooming her".
Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting at Canterbury Crown Court, said a smear of blood found in Mrs Griggs’ car boot matched her DNA.
“There is a 670 million chance that it was not hers,” he said, adding that there was no indication that the boot had been cleaned.
Mr Atkinson said the couple’s home was searched and a blood-stained sail found buried in the inspection pit in the garage. It was not possible to pinpoint whose blood it was and the sail has now been lost.
Covert listening devices were placed in Griggs’ car and although several conversations were obtained, no admissions were recorded.
Extensive investigations have been made in the UK and Europe in Mrs Griggs’ married and maiden names but all have proved negative.
Mr Atkinson said media appeals after Mrs Griggs’ disappearance had led several people to say they had seen her between 1999 and 2002.
These included walking along the road near the Swing Gate Inn, Dover, at a nightclub in Worthing, at the fish counter in Tesco’s, Dover, in Lancing, in Belgium and at a maternity department in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. All were checked by police and proved negative.
The trial continues.
More by this authorSian Napier