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The remains of a pregnant woman who was murdered by her husband more than 20 years ago have been found buried in a back garden.

Debbie Griggs was 34 when she vanished from her home Deal, Kent, in May 1999.

Her husband, Andrew Griggs, was found guilty of her murder 20 years later, in October 2019, following a cold case review by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate..

However her body remained missing until police received a tip-off two weeks ago suggesting her remains may be in the garden of a house in St Leonards in Dorset, where Griggs had moved in 2001.

On Wednesday, October 5, police discovered human remains including teeth fragments which specialists odontologists confirmed had belonged to Debbie.

Detective Chief Inspector 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 inquiries and provide support to them at this difficult time.”

Kent Police says further tests will now be carried out to establish the cause of her death and enquiries will also be made to establish how Debbie’s remains came to be at the property.

Andrew Griggs was found guilty of wife Debbie’s murder following a five-day trial at Canterbury Crown Court in 2019.

Griggs had denied murder and claimed to be asleep when his wife left home for the last time.

Justice Robin Spencer, sentencing Griggs, said at the time: “Her body has never been found, only you know how you killed her and where you disposed of her body.

“You told lie after lie in the witness box, just as you did at the time of Debbie’s disappearance.

“In murdering your wife you destroyed the life of that unborn child as well.

“I strongly suspect that you dumped her body at sea.

“You knew that stretch of coast like the back of your hand. It would not have been difficult to weigh her body down so that it sank.”

Det Chief Insp Kaye Braybrook of the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate said afterwards: “Debbie Griggs was a loving mother of three young sons and with a fourth child on the way.

“The jury heard from a number of witnesses who all agreed she would have never abandoned them, and was not the depressed, unstable and violent person Andrew Griggs has gone to great lengths to paint her as.

“While Debbie’s body has never been found, we are certain she died at the hands of her husband.

“There is no other plausible explanation as to what happened to her, nor any other person who is likely to have been responsible for her disappearance.

“Andrew Griggs has proven himself to be a callous and manipulative individual who has gone to great lengths to destroy his wife’s reputation.”