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Pensioner, 86, arrested after human remains found in septic tank

Discovery: The remains are believed to be those of Brenda Venables

DETECTIVES investigating the discovery of human remains in a septic tank have said they believe they are those of a farmer’s wife who disappeared in 1982.

Brenda 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 in a septic tank at the address in the Worcestershire village on July 12.

Discovery: The cover of the septic tank at a house in Bestmans Lane, Kempsey, Worcestershire, where the female human remains were found PICTURE: PA

An 86-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody.

Today police officers carried out searches at the bungalow where Mr Venables, 86, now lives in the village.

Three marked cars including a police van and two unmarked vehicles were outside the detached property in the usually quiet cul-de-sac. Officers wearing gloves could also be seen inside.

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

Neighbours of Mr Venables said he kept to himself and always had the blinds drawn at the front of his home.

‘You can see the blinds are down and that’s all of the time, and that’s normal,’ said a female resident, who declined to be named. ‘This is very quiet here.’

Probe: David Venables pictured at his home in Kempsey

She added that police had not been around since the arrest but did speak to neighbours after the remains, believed to be those of Mrs Venables, were discovered earlier this month.

‘These things don’t happen too often, luckily,’ she added. ‘It’s quite astounding. To actually find somebody in a cesspit.’

A man who lives a few doors away said: ‘We’ve said hello to him, but we don’t know him.

‘It’s a friendly, sleepy neighbourhood.’

A force spokesman said detectives were still awaiting DNA results but ‘the general circumstances lead us to believe’ that the remains are likely to be those of Brenda Venables.

Investigation: Police officers searched a house in Kempsey PICTURE: PA

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

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

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

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