Loading...

Is Landscapers a true story? Who are Susan and Christopher Edwards from Sky TV series - and what did they do?

Olivia Colman stars in the new Sky Atlantic drama, which explores the real events behind a strange double murder

<p>Christopher and Susan Edwards were jailed for 25 years (Picture: Nottinghamshire police)</p>

Christopher and Susan Edwards were jailed for 25 years (Picture: Nottinghamshire police)

Emmy award winning actress Olivia Coleman and Harry Potter actor David Thewlis star in the gripping true-crime drama for Sky/HBO, Landscapers.

The story is one of an introvert, middle-English couple who carry out a double murder and hide it for over a decade. The couple will be played by Coleman and Thewlis.

Sign up to our What to Watch newsletter

Olivia Coleman and David Thewlis as Susan and Christopher Edwards (Picture: Sky)

Ahead of the series premiering on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV, viewers may be wondering what the four-part series is based on.

So, what is the true story behind ‘Landscapers’, and when is it released on TV? This is what you need to know.

Landscapers true story

The story of Landscapers began with a phone call from an elderly woman to police, in October 2013.

The caller informed police that her stepson and daughter in law had murdered two people and the victims were buried in their own back garden.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin, who led the investigation, told the BBC: "My first thought was ‘this sounds bizarre’

"I questioned in my own mind whether it could be true because it was so unusual.

"But as with any call we took it seriously, followed up some obvious lines of inquiry and I quickly started to believe what we had been told could be true."

The information the call handler received was that the bodies could have been buried there over a decade before the phone call.

“It would have been unusual anywhere, but on a quiet housing estate, with families all around, it was the last place you’d expect,” Griffin added.

The named location of the burial was a semi-detached house on the quiet cul-de-sac of Blenheim Close in Forest Town, Mansfield.

The home where the Wycherleys were buried after being shot by their daughter and son-in-law (Picture: Google)

The suspects, Christopher and Susan Edwards, were the unassuming type, with no reason to believe they could have been capable of murdering two elderly pensioners.

Even more shocking, the elderly victims were Susan’s parents William and Patricia Wycherley, who had not been seen since 1998, when they were 86 and 63.

Less than two days after the phonecall from the elderly stepmother of Christopher, two bodies had been recovered from the back garden of the property. Both had been shot and one still had the bullet lodged in its spine.

The officers then asked Christopher’s stepmother to have him phone the police, which he did and during the call told them that Susan had been involved in

Andy Done-Johnson, a local reporter has written a book based on the case, said Christopher told police the Wycherleys had been arguing when Susan had visited and her mum had shot her dad.

Then, in a rage at her mother, Susan had shot her. Christopher and Susan were now living in France and police requested that they return to the UK for questioning.

Christopher and Susan Edwards were arrested on 30 October 2013 at St Pancras station.

In their possession, they were found to have only loose change, a change of clothes and a suitcase of Hollywood memorabilia.

How did they manage to cover up the murders?

It transpired that the Edwards had been “keeping the Wycherleys alive” through various means, as well as continuing to claim their benefits and pension.

The Wycherleys had been a quiet couple, with no real friends and little links to anyone but their own daughter. Therefore, upon murdering her parents, Susan had redirected thier mail and began cancelling any appointments which they were required to attend.

"Keeping the Wycherleys ‘alive’ was almost a full-time job for for Christopher and Susan," says Mr Done-Johnson.

"They had all their mail redirected and went through it, deflecting inquiries, cancelling appointments, even writing greetings cards.

"It worked because the Wycherleys had been a very private couple with no real friends.

"The Edwards told people they had moved to Morecombe or Blackpool or even Australia".

While claiming around £245,000 over the decade since the couple had last been seen, the Edward’s had invested in Hollywood memorabilia from the 1930s and 40s, as opposed to luxury homes or cars which might have triggered an investigation.

Susan spent time answering cards and mail on their behalf, and only when the Department of Work and Pensions asked to see Mr Wycherley in person in 2012, did the mask begin to slip on their efforts to hide the elderly couple’s deaths.

However, it was their obsession with the Hollywood merchandise that landed them in custody. Susan and Christopher had drummed up considerable debt through their purchases and Christopher had called his stepmother to loan him money.

Mr Done-Johnson told the BBC: "They were notoriously lousy with money. They might spend £15,000 on a collection of photographs and, within a year, run out of money.

"They would then sell it all for, say, a third of what they had paid for it. Then, a little later, they would start all over again."

Despite being forced to sell the Blenheim Close house in 2006 to pay off debts, the couple could not afford to pay off their debts and fled to France with £10,000 from Christopher’s work.

Within a few months, the couple had spent any money they had and this is when they phoned Christopher’s stepmother and she informed police of what had happened to the Wycherley’s.

When were they convicted of the murders?

Their trial began at Nottingham Crown Court in June 2014, where Christopher and Susan continued to tell how Patricia had killed William and Susan then shot her mum.

Police struggled to tie Christopher to the murders, and the couple maintained that he had only become involved when they both visited Blenheim Close the weekend after Susan killed them.

While watching the Eurovision Song Contest and eating fish and chips, Susan told how she revealed her parent’s bodies were upstairs. Christopher then assisted her in burying them the following night.

However, prosecutors argued that Susan’s motive was money orientated and she had been infuriated when her parent’s spent inheritance she had been entitled to.

Rob Griffin, who lead the investigation, described the murderous couple as

" unemotional, cold, very matter-of-fact."

"They showed little emotion through the whole trial which was quite strange to see,” he added. "They were introverted, they were always together, they didn’t really socialise with anyone.

"They didn’t have any hobbies, they didn’t invest in property or material things - their lifestyle was minimalistic.”

Mr Done-Johnson felt Susan Edwards "did not perform well" in the witness box, but it was Christopher who proved to provide pivotal evidence when he took the stand.

The prosecution asked Christopher Edwards - who had been a member of a gun club - to demonstrate how he might use a pistol.

Mr Done-Johnson says: "It was an incredible moment.

"He was a small, slight, softly spoken man but when he did this, he took up a perfect marksman’s posture.

Thewlis acts out the scenes from the trial, for the new Sky series (Picture: Sky)

"He used his fingers to ‘fire’ four perfect rounds above the heads of the jury.

"It was the turning point in the trial - he seemed to physically increase in size and confidence. There was just a chill in the courtroom."

Both were found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years.

Landscapers will premiere in the UK on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 9pm.

All four episodes will be available to watch at launch.