Man found guilty of Susan Whiting murder


A man has been found guilty of raping and murdering a 20-year-old woman at his wife's bungalow.

Susan Whiting was attacked with a blunt object and found with a fractured skull, her wrists bound and a plastic bag over her head.

She had been invited to have dinner and spend the night at the property in Bloxwich, Walsall, when she was brutally attacked in August last year.

Steven Beards, 34, of Bentley, West Midlands, was convicted of murder and rape after a three-week trial at Leicester Crown Court.

The jury are still deliberating on his wife Julie Beards, 36, of Walsall, who is accused of murder.

Ms Whiting's body was found semi-naked and wrapped in a shower curtain underneath a bed on Tuesday August 18, the court was told.

A post mortem found that Ms Whiting was struck on the head at least three times and traces of "sedating hypnotic drug" Zopiclone was found in a blood sample.

As part of the prosecution opening, Gareth Evans said the couple had been covertly recorded while they were being taken to court.

According to the prosecution, Steven Beards said to his wife: "I need to stay out and look after the house. You'll get a lighter sentence all right, I'll come and visit you and I'll keep sending you money.

"Just say it was an accident and you lost your temper, you know what I mean. Can you do that for me bab?

"If you can take this rap for me ... would you be able to do that? If I go down, you are coming with me."

She replied: "Don't start, I haven't done anything wrong."

Beards said: "You are involved as I am, I'm gonna spend the rest of my life behind bars. I've done what you asked me to do."