Aylesbury: Police Search For Murder Weapon

Police investigating the killing of an elderly woman murdered by her friend of 30 years so he could get his hands on her fortune are to begin a search of the grounds of a property in the hunt for the murder weapon.

Christopher Symons was found guilty of murdering Patricia Goodband, 76, following a trial last October while a number of other people were also convicted.

Ms Goodband's body was found concealed in a 12ft deep brick shaft in the grounds of her home in Woodham, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, on January 21 last year.

Today, police said they would begin searching the grounds of a property in Kings Close, Westcott, after receiving information that the murder weapon could be concealed there.

Officers are expected to spend two to three days at the site, which is the home of Robert Taft, who was convicted of perverting the course of justice after lying to police about dropping Ms Goodband off at a train station.

Officers are also looking to find a number of the victim's personal items of property, including her handbag and its contents along with her mobile phone and diary, which it is believed could hold important information about the last months of her life.

Head of Thames Valley Police's major crime unit, Detective Superintendent Chris Ward, said: "The search is taking place in order to try and locate some outstanding items of property and evidence.

"One of those is the weapon which we believe was used in her murder and also some of her personal effects which are still missing.''

Mr Ward said it was "very important'' to find the items, "both in terms of finalising the investigation but also certainly in terms of her personal effects for her family because they are things that are personal to her''.

A post-mortem examination found Ms Goodband died from head injuries and Mr Ward said it was believed the murder weapon was a blunt instrument, with the victim attacked with "something heavy and sharp'' due to the deep lacerations to her skull.

Officers are liaising with members of the woman's family and will be keeping them up to date with their search, he added.

Christopher SymonsSymons, of Cambridge Street, Aylesbury, denied Ms Goodband's murder but was found guilty by a jury at Reading Crown Court in October last year. He was jailed for life with a minimum of 27 years.

His sister Kathleen Adams, of Aylesbury Road, Princes Risborough, was also convicted of one count of perverting the course of justice while his "lover'' Jennifer Creasey, of Benson, Oxfordshire, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The trial heard Ms Goodband's body had been thrown into the shaft and covered in soil, large stones and plastic bags full of rubbish.

The wealthy businesswoman had not been seen since December 17.