Two charged with murder of woman with learning difficulties


Two people have been charged with murdering a woman with learning difficulties.

Steven Beard, aged 34, of Rowland Avenue, Bentley and 35-year-old Julie Beard, of Heather Close in Walsall will appear in court tomorrow over the killing of college student Susan Whiting, West Midlands Police said.

Ms Whiting's body was found at an address in Heather Close on Tuesday after she was reported missing by family.

A post mortem showed she died from a head injury.

Relatives raised the alarm after Ms Whiting's mother went to collect her from a friend's house where she was spending the night, and discovered her daughter missing.

The family are now being supported by specialist police officers.

Ms Whiting was a hospitality and catering student at Walsall Adult and Community College, whose principal Jev Bhalla praised her as a young woman growing in confidence.

Mr Bhalla said: "She was a cheerful member of the college community. She was making great academic progress."

Ms Whiting was last seen alive on Monday, the day before her body was discovered.

Neighbours of the arrested pair speaking earlier this week had described them as "a lovely couple".

Steven and Julie Beard are set to appear before Wolverhampton Magistrates Court tomorrow.