After the murder of her parents in cold blood, celebrity-obsessed Susan Edwards spent half their £300,000 fortune snapping up memorabilia and autographs of screen idols.
Now, eight years into a 25-year sentence, the librarian-turned double killer is basking in her own spotlight – beaming with pride at her crowning achievement of being played on TV by Oscar and Bafta-winner Olivia Colman.
The murders of Patricia and William Wycherley went undiscovered for 15 years, after Edwards and her husband Christopher buried the bodies in the elderly couple’s garden and paid visits to mow the lawn and clean the windows.
The bizarre case has been brought to the screen in Sky series Landscapers.
And in an astonishing jail interview, Edwards told the Sunday Mirror : “Prisoners say I should be proud that one of the world’s best actors is playing me.
“I am proud. I hope she can help shine a light on what happened.”
©Sky UK Ltd / HBO / Sister)
Colman stars alongside David Thewlis, who plays mild-mannered accounts clerk Christopher – Edwards’ husband and co-defendant.
The couple were each jailed for life at Nottingham Crown Court for the 1998 murders, to serve a minimum of 25 years.
They had given themselves up in 2013 while on the run in France after Christopher told his stepmother of the deaths.
Edwards, 39 at the time of the murders, claimed her mother Patricia, 63, had shot 85-year-old William – and that she then shot Patricia after they rowed.
But the court found the pair guilty of the double murder, ruling Christopher, then 41, had shot both at point-blank range using Mr Wycherley’s Second World War .38 revolver before burying them at their Mansfield home.
The 2014 trial heard Edwards was a fantasist so obsessed with celebrity she faked a 14-year correspondence with French actor Gérard Depardieu, convincing her husband they were penpals.
Yet she has always stood by her own version of her parents’ deaths.
Speaking after being given a preview of the TV show by her solicitor, she said: “I do think I should be in prison because I killed my mother with my father’s gun from the war and I covered it up for 15 years and took part in an illegal burial.
“Also, I fraudulently took money from my parents’ accounts. However, I maintain that I did not kill my father and that none of this was premeditated.
“It literally happened the night of that awful weekend and I maintain that Chris never took part in the killings.
“He didn’t know until the following weekend, when I told him. I was in a real state and persuaded him to help me cover it up. That is what he took part in.”
After the murders took place over the May Day bank holiday, the cover-up also included sending letters to friends of her parents, apparently from the couple themselves, to make it seem all was well.
Edwards also forged signatures to access her parents’ bank accounts. Over the next 15 years, the couple went on a spree to amass a £150,000 hoard of celebrity memorabilia.
It included a £20,000 signed photo of Frank Sinatra, £14,000 of Gary Cooper keepsakes, and autographs of Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant.
PA Wire/Press Association Images)
Only child Susan was said to have held a festering grudge against her parents, claiming they swindled her out of a £10,000 inheritance from a relative. She took her vengeance after spilling her anger to Christopher, who she met through a dating agency.
In jail, they keep their love alive with weekly letters and calls and have even been allowed visits together every three months – pandemic permitting.
Edwards said: “I adore him. He said recently that, in a funny way, he loves me even more now in our adversity.
“He’s a good man who would never have been in prison had he not come into contact with me. I love him beyond words.”
Her solicitor, Darrell Ennis-Gayle, showed the Landscapers trailer to both of them behind bars. He said Christopher had been pleased it “portrays us as human beings”.
Mr Ennis-Gayle added: “They feel it was balanced about what happened.”
But critics who attended the trial have claimed it makes the couple “too likeable” and “too confident”. Edwards, who has become a Catholic in prison, works as a liaison officer helping to steer inmates away from self-harm.
She said: “I like the job. When I’m discussing other people’s problems, I focus less on my own.
“I desperately miss Chris and I often have nightmares about my childhood.”
She added: “I regret that I went to my parents’ house that weekend.
“I desperately feel sorry that I killed my mother. I know she had been drinking when she said those things and told me she didn’t love me.
“I have always felt unloved, but I had always believed she did love me.
“I do feel she let me down by not protecting me from my father. I regret my childhood. I regret my father.
“It all led to that weekend so many years later. I feel guilty and remorseful for killing my mother and for bringing Chris into this situation.”
Queen telegram made pair panic
After the murders, the couple travelled regularly from their home in Dagenham, East London, to mow the lawn and clean the windows at the Nottingham house.
Posing as the Wycherleys’ nephew, Christopher Edwards told neighbours and relatives the couple had moved away.
But as Mr Wycherley’s 100th birthday approached in 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions wrote asking for a face-to-face interview to review benefits and arrange a telegram from the Queen.
In a panic, the Edwards fled to Lille in northern France. Christopher called his elderly stepmother, Elizabeth, asking for cash and telling her their version of the deaths. But instead of going along with it, Elizabeth called the police – who found the buried bodies.
A month after the murder probe began, the couple surrendered to UK border police at the Eurostar terminal.
They had on them one euro, clothes – and a case full of their memorabilia.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.