Best of Slow Journalism: The murderers next door

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

In 1998, some time over the May bank holiday weekend, William and Patricia Wycherley were murdered by their daughter, Susan, and son-in-law, Christopher. For 15 years, the Wycherleys’ bodies lay buried in their own garden in Forest Town, Mansfield, while Susan and Christopher stole more than £250,000 from them. During those 15 years, nobody ever suspected the Wycherleys were dead.

For last week’s Guardian weekend magazine, Jenny Kleeman went back to Forest Town and talked to the neighbours of the Wycherleys, who for all those years watched the Wycherleys’ son-in-law Christopher mow the lawn and clean the windows. She talked to the neighbours of Susan and Christopher, a reclusive couple immersed in a fantasy world, and writes how they could have gotten away with their crime if it weren’t for their habit of spending obscene amounts of money on memorabilia, including a bank form signed by Gary Cooper that came with a price tag of £3,000.

The murderers next door is a fascinating slow read read. Kleeman’s thorough research is evident in her detailed, engaging and at times extraordinary reconstruction of what happened in Forest Town in 1998 and in the 15 years that followed. We highly recommend you read it, which you can do here.


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