Andrew Griggs pictured outside Canterbury Crown Court earlier this month, where he is on trial for murder
A former sailor ‘murdered his pregnant wife 20 years ago after she suspected he was having an affair with a 15-year-old girl’, a court heard today.
Debbie Griggs, 34, was four-and-a-half months pregnant when she disappeared from her family home on May 5, 1999.
The mother-of-three’s car was found parked in a road 1.3 miles from her bungalow in the town of Walmer, near Deal in Kent, days later.
Her businessman husband Andrew Griggs, 57, is on trial at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent, accused of Debbie’s murder.
Appearing at Canterbury Crown Court today Griggs, who denies the charges, gave evidence for the first time.
He said his wife was ‘bubbly, loud and good to be around’ before they had their first child, but changed after she suffered with post-natal depression.
The former fisherman told the court his wife would threaten to walk out or commit suicide when she became angry
Griggs said: ‘Her whole personality changed. She would have dark moods. She became very withdrawn, very quiet.
‘She wasn’t taking care of herself. I couldn’t understand it. It was not easy to live with the problems.
‘She had no patience, she was very angry at the children. It was very stressful for both of us.’
Debbie Griggs, 34, was four-and-a-half months pregnant when she disappeared from her family home on May 5, 1999
Griggs denied an incident in which he apparently knee his wife in the stomach, despite knowing she was pregnant.
Griggs said his wife would get angry with him or with their young boys and used the same phrases when she became worked up.
He said Debbie said on more than one occasion: ‘I might as well kill myself.’
Griggs told the court his wife’s parenting style could be ‘heavy handed’ and strict, adding: ‘She was stressed. She was at home all day with three young children, winding her up.’
The defendant said he was not confrontational, and said Debbie would often go for ‘walkabouts’ or drives after they argued.
Griggs told the jury his wife had accused him of having affairs several times before 1998.
He said they would argue frequently during this time, and Debbie would often accuse him of being unfaithful with ‘anyone’ he spoke with.
He added: ‘It would be with customers at the shop, other members of the sailing club, anyone I really spoke to. She would make snark comments.’
Mrs Griggs, previously described in the trial as a ‘doting mum’, did not take any of her personal belongings with her when she vanished and she has never registered the birth of her fourth child.
She did not attend any doctor or hospital appointments over her pregnancy after her disappearance and had not applied for a passport or licence.
The auxiliary nurse, had made plans with relatives and friends for the days after her disappearance. No body has ever been found.
In 2001 Griggs sold the family business for £3 and moved to Dorset with his children.
The following year he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a child, the court heard. Griggs denied the offence to the jury.
Griggs, now a model ship maker of St Leonards, Dorset, denies murder.
The trial continues.
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