Harrowing Real-Life Murders Behind Olivia Colman’s New Drama Series Landscapers

Police officer Brian Costello was off duty at a harvest festival when he received a phone call from France which would lead to the discovery of two bodies buried under a patio and the elucidation of a strange murder case.

It was 2013 and a few days before Brian, who is now retired, had spoken to a woman called Elizabeth Edwards, who told him that her missing stepson, Christopher Edwards, had contacted her out of the blue. with a disturbing story.

Christopher had told her that 15 years before, his wife Susan had shot her own mother during a struggle that ensued after the old lady had shot her husband, Susan’s father. He had helped bury them in the garden.

Brian, now 55, told Elizabeth to give her stepson, who was in France, her number and urge him to confess. So when Brian, from Mansfield, Notts, saw a French telephone area code when he got that call, he knew it had to be Christopher.

Brian said, “He was nervous, or seemed nervous. He pretended he was in a phone booth, but wouldn’t say where he was, and said he was afraid of Susan and worried about what she would do if she found out he was talking to her mother-in-law or the police.

“He looked believable at the time. He was very convincing, and I had no reason to doubt him at that time. But he fed me bull ****.

Christopher said he helped bury Patricia and William Wycherley in their garden. The bodies had never been discovered or the couple had even been reported missing. Brian says, “I’ve worked a large part of my career in the counter-terrorism unit, but this case was mind-boggling.

“It’s something you see on Brookside – the scenario with a body under a patio, which only happens on television programs. But no, once in a while, it actually happens for real.







Susan Edwards
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Now that real-life story has been dramatized for TV in Landscapers, a four-part series, starting on Sky tonight, starring Olivia Colman and David Thewlis as Susan and Christopher Edwards.

Christopher had, it later appeared in court, shot Patricia, 63, and William, 85, himself and, together with his wife, stolen their life savings and pensions to the tune of around £300,000.

They spent the money on celebrity memorabilia and autographs from stars including Gary Cooper, Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant.







Christopher Edwards
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An only child, Susan married Christopher in 1983 and separated from her parents when they failed to pass on a parent’s inheritance intended for her.

Over the bank holiday weekend in May 1998, former librarian Susan, along with Christopher, a credit checker, visited her parents at their home in Blenheim Close, Forest Town, Mansfield.

Christopher, who had a firearms license, shot Patricia and William twice in the chest in their bedroom with a World War II-era .38 caliber revolver.







A World War II Commando Colt .38 caliber revolver, the type that police say was used in the murders
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Strangely, none of the neighbors reported hearing gunshots, and even when Christopher was spotted digging a 3ft hole outside the back door in the early hours, nothing was thought of. William and Patricia were “eccentric”, as we would later say, and didn’t really mix.

It only helped their killers.

Christopher and Susan, then aged 41 and 39, wrapped the bodies in a quilt and put them in the hole, before planting plants over them.

Susan went to the bank with fake documents, opened a joint account in her and her mother’s name and transferred £40,579 from her parents’ savings.

Over the next 15 years, she and Christopher accepted pension payments, benefits, loans and credit cards on behalf of the Wycherleys.

They spent the money on their celebrity obsession, paying £20,000 for a signed Frank Sinatra photo and £14,000 for Gary Cooper memorabilia.

The fantasy world that Susan, at least, inhabited emerged in court when it was revealed that she had forged letters from French actor Gerard Depardieu for years, claiming to her husband that he was her pen pal .







William Wycherley
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Former police officer Brian Costello who worked on the case
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Brian says, “They shot them, for money. Just so they can buy movie memorabilia. It’s tragic, utterly tragic that two people lost their lives just so someone could satiate a movie star’s desire for a photograph and signature.

“It’s mucky and dirty and twisted.”

The couple covered up the murders with forgeries and lies, telling neighbors the Wycherleys were traveling.

They regularly visited the house from their own home in Dagenham, east London, to keep it neat. In 2005, they even felt secure enough to sell it.

After speaking to Elizabeth, Brian contacted the buyer, who admitted that when he bought the house he found it strange that the furniture and ornaments were still there, “as if the couple who lived there had disappeared”.

It was only when the Department for Work and Pensions wrote before William’s 100th birthday and asked to meet him in person to discuss the benefits, that Christopher and Susan fled to France knowing they would be discovered. . When they ran out of money, Christopher called Elizabeth asking for money and told his story.







Olivia Colman stars in original Sky drama
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After Christopher called Brian, the police moved quickly to search the garden and found the bodies. Tenant Sue Bramley, who still lives in the house, had built a patio above the grave. She says: “I watched with horrified fascination as the sniffer dogs focused on that patch of garden near the back door, where, oddly enough, we had never been able to grow any flowers or plants.

A few days later, Christopher called Brian back. Brian says: “He had heard that the bodies had been found. I said we needed to talk to you, get you back into the country, and he always said it was Susan and he was scared of her.

Brian urged him to contact the investigation team, led by DCI Rob Griffin, and soon after he did.

Three weeks later, in October 2013, Christopher and Susan were arrested at St Pancras station in London. They only had one euro and a suitcase of souvenirs.







Police in the garden where the remains of William and Patricia were found
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Their story then came to light in court, particularly when Christopher was asked to demonstrate that he had fired a gun, and he calmly and deftly did so four times, pointing at the jury.

Brian says, “I think that’s what made people think the rest of his story was made up.” They were both sentenced to life for the double murder.

In court, Susan claimed she was abused by her father and that her mother taunted her about it before the shooting. But in Brian’s mind, they were premeditated killers.

He says: “They were cold and calculating and murdered two people for money – fine.”

  • Landscapers is on Sky Atlantic and NOW from December 7.

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