Man, 86, released under investigation after human remains found in septic tank

An 86-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the discovery of human remains in a septic tank has been released under investigation.

Detectives believe the remains are those of farmer’s wife Brenda Venables, who disappeared in 1982.

Mrs Venables, 48, was reported missing from the couple’s then home in Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, by her husband David.

West Mercia Police launched a murder investigation after the grim find at the address in the Worcestershire village on July 12.

Human remains found in septic tank
Police were at the current home of Mr Venables on Tuesday (Richard Vernalls/PA)

On Tuesday, detectives arrested a pensioner in connection with the inquiry and officers spent much of the day at the bungalow where Mr Venables, 86, now lives in the village.

Police would not be drawn on activity at the scene other than to say it was “a line of investigation”.

Flowers have been placed on the septic tank in which the remains were found, in the backyard of the farmhouse where Mr and Mrs Venables lived when she disappeared.

A force spokesman said detectives are still awaiting DNA results but “the general circumstances lead us to believe” the remains are likely to be those of Mrs Venables.

In May 1982, Mr Venables told the Worcester News: “I just woke up to find that she had gone.

Human remains found in septic tank
A planter with flowers has been placed on the cover of the septic tank (Richard Vernalls/PA)

“She has never done anything like this before and I haven’t the faintest idea what has happened to her.”

The couple had no children, according to the article.

It is understood the remains were discovered after the tank was drained during routine maintenance.

Police said the formal identification process is likely to take a few weeks.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said: “Police investigating the discovery of female human remains in Kempsey, Worcestershire, on Friday July 12 have released a man under investigation.

“The investigation is currently ongoing and officers are exploring various lines of inquiry.”

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