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Remains of murdered Deal woman Debbie Griggs discovered in garden in Dorset

Remains of a woman murdered by her husband more than 20 years ago have been discovered buried in his former garden.

Debbie Griggs was pregnant when she was reported missing from her home in Deal by her husband Andrew Griggs in May 1999.

Debbie Griggs was murdered by her husband
Debbie Griggs was murdered by her husband

He denied being responsible for the 34-year-old's disappearance - but was found guilty of murder and jailed for life in October 2019.

Acting on a tip-off, specialist officers and staff excavated the back garden of a property in St Leonards, Dorset, earlier this month and discovered human remains, including teeth fragments.

Griggs had moved to the property with his three young sons in July 2001 - two years after Debbie's disappearance - following the conclusion of the initial investigation into her whereabouts.

The remains were subject to a post-mortem examination on Friday, where specialist odontologists were able to confirm the teeth fragments belonged to Debbie.

Further tests will now be required to establish the cause of her death, and enquiries will also be carried out to establish how Debbie's remains came to be at the property.

'This discovery is further proof that he was lying all along...'

DCI Neil Kimber, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "It is now more than 20 years since Debbie Griggs was murdered by her husband but we have never given up hope of one day finding her remains and giving her loved ones some closure.

"Andrew Griggs denied being responsible for his wife's disappearance but this discovery is further proof that he was lying all along, causing even greater anguish for everyone who knew and loved Debbie.

"Whilst they continue to mourn her tragic loss to this day, I hope they can take some comfort in the knowledge that she can now be laid to rest.

"We will continue to keep Debbie's family updated on the progress of our ongoing enquiries and provide support to them at this difficult time."

Friends and family have never given up hope on finding Debbie.

A post on the 'Debbie Elizabeth Griggs is Missing' Facebook page from today reads: "Now tell us that you didn't murder Debbie Mr Griggs..."

Also posting on Facebook today, her sister Wendie said: "Yes it is true. My sister has been found.

"In short, two years after he murdered her, he moved house and actually took her with him.

"Then buried her in the back yard.

"PM confirmed it definitely her, plus her unborn (18 week) son.

"Lots of unbelievable nasty details.

Andrew Griggs was convicted of murdering his wife Debbie
Andrew Griggs was convicted of murdering his wife Debbie

"But for me, the most unbelievable is that he took her to the new house.

"I truly don’t think any murderer has done that before.

"No, I’m not on the same planet as everyone else, but I’m doing OK considering that I've actually been discombobulated with all this."

Griggs was jailed for life - with a minimum term of 20 years - after he was found guilty of Debbie's murder following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court.

Prosecutors 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 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 Griggs with children Jeremy, Jake and baby Luke
Debbie Griggs with children Jeremy, Jake and baby Luke

Debbie’s blood was recovered from the vehicle.

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

In July this year, he failed in his attempt to have the conviction overturned.

In 2020, the former couple’s three children had 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.

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

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."

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