Accused killer admits burying wife’s body but says he did not murder her

Updated February 04, 2019 17:46:30

A man accused of killing his wife during a heated argument in Brisbane more than 17 years ago has admitted to burying her remains in their backyard but denies it was murder.

Key points:

  • Partial skeletal remains of Patricia Anne Riggs were discovered by the new homeowner in 2016
  • The 34-year-old was reported missing by her husband in October 2001
  • Forensic pathologist could not determine a cause of her death after examining the remains

Edmund Ian Riggs, known as Ian Riggs, was charged with murdering Patricia Anne Riggs in 2016 after her partial skeletal remains were discovered by a new homeowner building a retaining wall.

At the beginning of his Supreme Court trial, Riggs pleaded guilty to interfering with her corpse but not guilty to murder.

The 34-year-old was reported missing by Riggs in October 2001, three days after she was last seen at their Margate home.

In his opening address, Prosecutor Todd Fuller told the jury Riggs claimed he had no idea where she was or what had happened to her.

“It is a lie that he has maintained for nearly 18 years,” Mr Fuller said.

“A lie that served him well until his wife’s partial remains were discovered, buried in the backyard of their home 15 years later … a lie that the Crown says has been told to avoid the consequences of what he did.”

The court heard after police searched the home, Riggs withdrew $1,000 and travelled by bus to Byron Bay and Nimbin in New South Wales, where he rented accommodation under a different name.

The prosecution said when interviewed by police, Riggs said they had been arguing in the lead-up to her disappearance but always maintained that his wife left the house and he went to sleep.

“He told his wife the marriage was over and her response was to say that she was going to take him for everything she could and wanted custody of their children,” Mr Fuller said.

The court heard “projected blood stains” were discovered on the wall behind their bed.

The prosecution said the forensic pathologist could not determine a cause of death after examining the remains.

Rigg’s defence counsel Lars Falcongreen said his client admitted to lying about his wife’s disappearance and burying her body but it did not make him guilty of murder.

“He admits it was a lie that was continued by him over and over again,” Mr Falcongreen said.

“What is not agreed, and is very much in dispute, is the circumstances around his wife’s death — that’s what we say the trial is really about.”

The trial is set down for two weeks.

Topics: courts-and-trials, law-crime-and-justice, crime, murder-and-manslaughter, brisbane-4000, qld, australia, margate-4019

First posted February 04, 2019 17:34:28

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