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Trigger warning: This article contains themes of domestic abuse, suicide and murder. If you are affected by anything in this story please follow the links for support.
In 2008 Garry Weddell was due to stand trial for murdering his wife, Sandra. Whilst on bail he went on to kill her mother Traute, before killing himself too.
As a result of his actions, PCSO Rachel Carne lost her sister in law and mother in law.
Rachel puts her feelings into words in our latest MVAWG Voices blog.
Garry was charming, but he was dangerous. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
When I first met him, he came across as very engaging, thoughtful, considerate and charismatic, and in fact most people thought the same.
But even from the start, something in my stomach didn’t feel quite right.
Over time I started noticing his behaviour, and he would often lie, change his stories and when questioned he would laugh it off.
He would often pit friends and family against each other and create barriers between people. With confidence in his approach, he would make you doubt yourself, your own gut instinct, and even doubt others around you.
If you questioned him, he would turn it around and you would leave questioning yourself instead.
After more than 20 years of marriage, Sandra got the courage and discussed a plan to leave him. She was going to buy her own flat with money from an endowment policy, then eventually get a divorce and start a new life for herself.
However, with the breakdown of the marriage, Garry realised he was losing control.
In a bid to regain it, he wanted to take the ultimate price, Sandra’s life.
He planned to murder Sandra, and with a well thought out plan he wanted to make it look like suicide.
For months, Garry would contact friends and family and act concerned about her wellbeing, asking them to check in on her, feeding people with false information. Even going as far as contacting her GP claiming to be worried about her.
At the time he was working as a police Inspector and a school governor, so people had little reason to doubt his motives.
As people grew concerned for Sandra, his confidence grew again as everyone believed he was a hero doing a good deed to protect her.
I mean, who wouldn’t trust a man that seemed to be so worried about his wife?
In January 2007, Sandra was found dead in the garage at her home address.
Six months later, Garry was arrested for murder after detectives analysed the suicide note.
At court, he was able to convince the judge, as well as friends and family, that he was an upstanding member of society, a loving father, and someone who was genuinely concerned for his wife, and he was subsequently released on bail.
As part of his bail conditions, his children were not permitted to live with him, and custody was granted to myself and their granny, Traute. He also knew she would be giving evidence against him in court.
Garry realised he was running out of excuses, with more and more evidence coming to light. He knew time was ticking, he was losing control and when he would inevitably be sentenced, he would be in prison for the rest of his life.
In January 2008, he shot and killed his mother-in-law.
He had also planned to kill me, and maybe others. But thankfully he got spooked.
He was scared of going to prison and did not want to face the consequences of his action, and he went on to kill himself.
But his controlling behaviour didn’t stop there. At his funeral he had a speech read out, which he wrote himself, talking about how much of a loving husband and father he was, and how much of a hero he was as part of his job.
The devastation his actions caused spilled out for many years. There were mental health issues, job losses and marriage break downs. This was truly an awful time for everyone involved.
As I look back, I was determined I would not let him ruin my life, or the children’s lives. He will not have that power.
I will speak out and share my story, and I will encourage people to always, always trust your gut instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, there’s a reason.
Garry played a clever game. He knew what he was doing.
If you are concerned about something, or someone’s behaviour, speak out and consult family and friends you can trust. Always try to have open and honest conversations with the people around you, because it might undermine an offender’s credibility and confidence.
If you were affected by Rachel’s story, remember there is support available.
Mental health crisis support for all ages is available 24 hours a day every day across Bedfordshire and Luton by contacting NHS 111 (option 2) or the Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone).
If you are a victim of domestic abuse you can contact Signpost for Bedfordshire, which offers free and confidential support regardless if the crime was reported to the police.
There are a number of support organisations which you can contact by phone or online.
If you have concerns about a family member’s partner you might be eligible to ask the police about their past through the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law.
If you are having thoughts about harming yourself do not suffer in silence contact Samaritans for free on 116 123. In emergency call 999 or go to the nearest A&E department.