Policeman’s father Christopher Symons has been jailed for life for murdering his millionairess business partner and dumping her body down a 12ft drainage well in the garden of her Woodham home, near Waddesdon.
The judge ruled 63-year-old Symons, of Cambridge Street, Aylesbury, must serve a minimum of 27 years behind bars before being considered for parole for the murder of Patricia Goodband.
Symons’ 73-year-old lover Jennifer Creasey, of Benson, Oxon, was jailed for six months and gravedigger Robert Taft, 59, of Westcott, for 10 months both for perverting the course of justice during the police investigation into the case.
Symons beat 76-year-old Mrs Goodband six times over the head and devised a plan he called ‘The 12 days of Xmas’ in an attempt to inherit her £1 million fortune.
At Reading Crown Court today (Monday), Symons showed no emotion when he was told he would probably die in prison as he will be aged 90 before there was a chance of parole.
Describing the killing, which involved a heavy wrench, Judge Zoe Smith told Symons: “The substantial planning. The concealment of the body. The false trail after her murder. The deceit employed to convince Mrs Goodband’s daughter that her mother was missing and the recruitment of others to sure up your cover story.
“I find that the purpose of the murder was to ensure that your entitlement to her savings and house remained intact.”
In a scrawled note, Symons listed daily tasks to try to cover up the grandmother-of-two’s murder and throw detectives off the scent.
The incriminating list was found in his car by detectives searching for clues over Mrs Goodband’s murder and it was used as a vital piece of evidence in the case against him.
Mrs Goodband, who ran a haulage business with Symons, was last seen alive on December 22.
The three-week trial had heard that Mrs Goodband was reported missing by her daughter Samantha McLoughlin, who lives in North Yorkshire, on January 9.
Symons sent himself a series of texts from Mrs Goodband’s phone in a bid to mislead police.
He also got lover Creasey to pen a fake Christmas card to Mrs Goodband and enlisted Taft’s help in fabricating the story that the divorcee had headed north for the Christmas period.
Following a painstaking investigation, Mrs Goodband’s body was found concealed in the deep shaft on January 21.
Police have released footage of a police interview of Symons, when officers tell him Taft has admitted lying to cover the murderer’s tracks. It can be viewed above.