Walsall Couple Guilty Of Killing Woman With Learning Difficulties

26 May 2016, 15:31 | Updated: 26 May 2016, 16:10

A couple from Walsall have been found guilty of killing a 20-year-old with learning difficulties.

Susan Whiting was drugged, raped and killed after being invited to dinner in Bloxwich in August.

Julie Beards has been found guilty this afternoon (Thursday 26th May) of killing her.

Earlier this week her husband Steven Beards was found guilty of rape and murder. He's been jailed for life with a minimum of 33 years.  Julie Beards will be sentenced at a later date.

Detective Superintendent Mark Payne, who heads the force’s homicide team, said: “Susan Whiting was a vulnerable young woman who lost her life at the hands of this pair, who betrayed her trust.

“The two have never given a reason why Susan was killed, but we believe the attack was pre-planned and sexually motivated. 

“Steven Beards initially told officers that he had not slept at the bungalow overnight but had returned there the next morning. Julie Beards claimed she was in the shower and her husband must have killed her.

“I believe Julie Beards invited Susan into her home, before drugging her before he sexually assaulted her and then killed her, probably with a hammer and by compressing her neck. Evidence shows Susan was sedated with drugs and her hands manacled so she could be sexually assaulted.

“Susan had gone to the home of someone she thought she could trust. I welcome the fact both have been jailed and while this cannot bring Susan back, I hope this goes some way to comforting her devastated family and friends." 

Tribute from Susan ’s mother Maureen Whiting : “From the moment Susan was reported missing our lives have been turned upside down. Susan ’s death is such a tremendous loss to our family.

“She was just 20 years old, an easy-going, loving young lady, enjoying her life. I know she was loved and will be missed by so many people.

“We would like to thank family, friends, the local community and all the professionals who have supported us over the past months. We will honour her life by the way we continue to live ours."