William and Patricia Wycherley Murder: How Were Susan Edwards’ Parents Killed?

‘Landscapers,’ with its experimental style and unsettling dark humor, chronicles the harrowing deaths of William and Patricia Wycherley in Mansfield. Karl Johnson and Felicity Montagu’s performances as William and Patricia, respectively, certainly add an aura of melancholic mystery around the unfortunate Wycherleys. The HBO true-crime miniseries, created by Ed Sinclair, also dives deep into the extraordinary psyche, fascinating worldviews, and troubling decisions of Susan (Olivia Colman) and Christopher Edwards (David Thewlis).

As the show progresses, substantial facts pertaining to the Edwardses emerge but we find ourselves constantly befuddled by the reticent William and Patricia, who barely interact with anyone from the outside world. So, who were William and Patricia Wycherley in real life and how did they die? Were they related to Susan and Christopher Edwards? Don’t worry, we’ve got all the information you need.

How Did William and Patricia Wycherley Die?

William and Patricia Wycherley were an elderly couple residing in 2 Blenheim Close, Forest Town, located in the town of Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. At the time of their murder, in 1998, William was 85 and Patricia was 63. Little is known about their life; the police discovered two photos of William and none of his wife. William served in the merchant navy and his father was a coalminer. He married Patricia in 1958.

Image Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/PA

The Wycherleys had one daughter named Susan, who married Christopher Edwards in 1983. Susan insisted during interrogation that her father had never approved of her marriage. Police investigation revealed very few details about the Wycherleys, but the information obtained painted a picture of a mildly eccentric and extremely asocial couple who regularly turned down friendly invitations and barely stayed in touch with their extended family. William had a penchant for playing music halls classics on his organ and apparently the couple used to smoke extensively inside their house.

The Wycherleys’ neighbors too found them to be a little odd and orthodox. “They [William and Patricia] never walked together. She was always 10 yards behind him,” stated Lesley Ward, who shared a privet hedge backing with the elderly couple. “He didn’t seem to want to be spoken to. He wasn’t rude or anything, they were just happy being on their own. They always seemed to be in or around the house. They didn’t seem to go anywhere,” confessed John, Lesley’s husband. Hence, when they were shot to death by their own flesh and blood, it took more than a decade to attain justice.

Who Killed William and Patricia Wycherley?

After 1998, the Edwardses told the Wycherleys’ relatives and neighbors that the couple had shifted to Morecambe. Susan would send their relatives greeting cards in the name of her parents, keeping up the pretense that they were alive and well. Most importantly, she forged her parents’ signature frequently in order to access their pensions, savings, and benefits.

The police reported that the Edwardses had stolen a total of £285,286 from Susan’s parents in the 15 years after the murder. When the Department for Work and Pensions tried to contact William for a congratulatory meeting on his 100th birthday in 2012, the Edwardses fled to France. Eventually, Susan and Christopher returned to England to face the authorities.

Susan and Christopher Edwards, after getting arrested by the English police at the Saint Pancras train station, maintained that they were innocent. According to the Edwardses, Patricia and William got into an argument during the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, which resulted in the wife shooting the husband. Susan alleged that her mother then turned on her, claiming that she was having an affair with Christopher. This supposedly led to Susan firing at Patricia. The couple then claimed that Susan informed Christopher about the dead bodies only a week later, after which the two came back to Mansfield to deal with the corpses; Susan admitted to manslaughter and not murder.

Image Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/PA

However, the jury at the Nottingham Crown Court court ruled that William and Patricia Wycherley were indeed murdered by Susan and Christopher. In particular, the court was of the opinion that Christopher pulled the trigger on the old couple, considering his expertise with guns and the precise way in which the bodies were shot at.

The Wycherleys’ bodies had been wrapped in a duvet cover and found buried a meter under their back garden. Neighbors had previously seen Christopher digging a hole that came up to his waist. The court thus believed that Christopher killed the Wycherleys with Susan’s knowledge, and that money was the couple’s primary motive. The Edwardses were convicted of murder in 2014 and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison.

However, Susan insisted that William had sexually abused her as a child and that her mother had been aware of it. She maintained that her childhood trauma and mother’s cruel complacency were the reasons why she shot Patricia — Susan even filed an appeal to challenge her prison sentence based on these claims. However, her appeal was rejected because the murder took place in a highly calculated manner, with money emerging as the primary motive, several years after Susan had left her childhood home.

Read More: Where Did Susan and Christopher Edwards Live? Where Were Susan’s Parents Buried?