A British expatriate in Australia has been held guilty of murdering his wife and secreting away her body in a 44-gallon drum for 23 years.
After a week-long trial, the jury of three women and nine men at the Victoria Supreme Court in Melbourne found Frederick William Boyle killed Edwina Ruth Boyle, aged 30, on October 6, 1983, and hid her body in a drum on their property.
AdvertisementBoyle, 58, who emigrated from the Vale of Glamorgan in the early 1970s, had previously insisted that his wife had run off with another man.
It took the jury a day-and-a-half to find the former Cardiff bus driver guilty of murder.
Mrs Boyle's sister Valerie Bordley, who lives in Watford, north of London, and had reported her sister missing in 1994, said she thought the case would never be solved.
"It was beginning to get to the stage where I thought we would never solve it,'' Ms Bordley said outside the Victorian Supreme Court.
Ms Bordley, who has travelled to Australia from the UK four times to investigate the case, said it had been a harrowing experience for her.
She said the worst thing for her was hearing how and where Edwina's body was found.
"I just can't get that out of my head,'' she said.
"Justice has now been done - I just feel so sorry for my nieces.
"They have lived their lives all these years thinking their mother had deserted them and now with this verdict, it is probably going to devastate them - I have extremely mixed emotions.''
Boyle had told his children that their mother had run off with another man.
During cross-examination by crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert, SC, Boyle said he did not report his wife's death, fearing he would be charged with her murder because he was having an affair with another woman.
Boyle said during the trial he made up the story about his wife leaving him for a truck driver, and hid her body in a drum for 23 years.
His dark secret was uncovered by his son-in-law during a clean-up of the family home in October 2006, when he opened the drum and found a hessian bag and women's clothing.
Two weeks later he found that same hessian bag inside a wheelie bin in the garage of the house and discovered Mrs Boyle's decomposed remains inside.
Ms Bordley said the 23-year-long nightmare had taken its toll on her but she had kept fighting to solve the mystery of her sister's disappearance.
Ms Bordley said her sister, who emigrated to Australia from Wales with her husband in 1972, suffered from homesickness and as time went on and she had still not heard from Edwina, she became suspicious.
Ms Bordley hired private investigators as well as consulting clairvoyants to find out what had happened to Edwina.
"It's taken a big toll but when you believe in something you just have to keep fighting - I needed to know what happened to my sister,'' Ms Bordley said.
"I kept on to the police constantly - I've been to psychics and everything.''
Justice Jack Forrest remanded Boyle in custody for a sentencing date in about two weeks.