Sailor guilty of murdering wife who has been missing since 1999

A sailor whose pregnant wife vanished 20 years ago has been convicted of her murder.

“Devoted” mother-of-three Debbie Griggs disappeared without a trace on May 5, 1999 and has never been seen since.

At the time of her disappearance she was pregnant with the couple’s fourth child.

Now Andrew Griggs, 57, has been found guilty following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said the body of Debbie Griggs was disposed of and her car was found dumped streets away from her home in Deal, Kent.

He told the trial: “The prosecution case is that Debbie Griggs did not just up and leave her husband and children in the middle of the night, never to be seen or heard of again.

“She was a devoted mother who would not have just abandoned her children.”

The court heard that the disappearance followed suspicions that her husband was having a relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Griggs, of Ringwood Road, Saint Leonards, Dorset, had denied murder and claimed to be asleep when his wife left home for the last time.

He denied ever being in a relationship with the 15-year-old, telling the police in the days after his wife’s disappearance that the girl was “just a mate”.

Mrs Griggs complained at the time that her husband had threatened to “get me sorted”, the trial heard.

In an affidavit she wrote in 1999, Mrs Griggs said: “Everything we have together is in fact his, and I am only allowed to enjoy anything that is a joint matrimonial asset by reason of being with him.

“He does not let me go out by myself. His needs come first.

“He tells me I am sick and mad in the head.”

Also in an affidavit from the time, Mrs Griggs said: “During the course of our marriage my husband was bombastic and bullying.

“He has threatened to get me sorted. I took that to mean he will do me harm or will arrange for some other to do me harm.”

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