Transcript: 95. The Murder of Kate Prout | England

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Our cases have been researched using open source and archive materials. It deals with true crimes and real people. Some parts are graphic in nature and listener discretion is advised. Each episode is produced with the utmost respect to the victims, their families and loved ones.

Redmarley D’Abitot [Dab-a-toe] is located in the Dean Forest, Gloucestershire [Gloster-sure]. The quintessential English village is quiet and quaint, with about 650 residents. The town has all the trimmings of a typical country town: old cottages and Tudor-style homes dot the green landscape. People congregate in the village hall and on weekends, sports fields like the cricket grounds or the football club draw spectators from the surrounding towns and villages.

Nothing much ever happens in Redmarley. A few people knew about the little town, and that is just how locals prefer it.

In 2004, a married couple, Adrian and Kate Prout moved to Redhill Farm near the village of Redmarley and settled in well, quickly becoming a part of the local community. Kate loved taking long country walks with her dogs and enjoyed talking to neighbours over their grey stone walls, trimming their hedges. Before long, the Prouts were very much part of the community.

Kate went away from time to time, travelling by herself. But that wasn’t too unusual, and as a farmer is usually reluctant to leave his farm, Adrian chose to stay behind. When Kate disappeared in the fall of 2007, police came knocking on neighbours’ doors, asking if they knew anything.

Most people assumed that Kate simply left again, but police wanted more information: gossip, speculation, everything. Locals told them that there was a bit of a scene at a pub one night after Kate had had a couple of drinks. She bad-mouthed a couple of people and slapped her husband in the face. Most people put it down to the fact that she had had too much to drink. Nobody in town could imagine anything sinister had happened to Kate. Surely police didn’t suspect foul play?

As the years dragged by, there was still no sign of Kate. Adrian fell in love again, and his new girlfriend moved into the farmhouse on Redhill Farm. But local investigators never gave up in finding out the truth about what happened to Kate Prout, on Bonfire Night at her home on Redhill Farm…

Kate Wakefield was a teacher who came from a family of English farmers. Both her brothers, Ted and Richard, followed in their father’s footsteps and became farmers too. In 1999, after selling a farm cottage she’d inherited from their parents, Kate moved into the farmhouse owned by her brother Ted and his family. She took early retirement, something she could afford to do after selling her parents’ cottage.

During her time on Ted’s farm, Kate met Adrian Prout. He was a neighbour who needed a place to stay after the end of a long-term relationship and Ted allowed him to live in a caravan on the property. In exchange, Adrian helped around the farm wherever he could.

Adrian also had a pipe-laying business with regular work, as well as some savings. Ted always felt that Adrian would get back on his feet soon, as he was a good businessman.

When Kate and Adrian met, it was clear that they enjoyed each other’s company. Adrian was ten years younger than the 50-year-old Kate and, she was not looking for love. But before she knew it, she had fallen for Adrian. Because he was already good friends with Kate’s brother, Ted, Adrian slotted into Kate’s life with ease. The relationship was strong and, they got married in September 2000.

The newlyweds owned a home together in Frampton-on-Severn where they lived for four years before selling it for a good profit. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity had presented itself and, they were able to purchase the almost 280 acres Redhill Farm outside the village of Redmarley in Gloucestershire for £820,000. It was a dream come true for both of them: their very own farm in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

They hoped to make an income from the farm. Adrian kept his pipe-laying business for the time being. He had all the machinery and contacts, so it was good to ensure an ongoing income. His work often required him to be away from home for a couple of days at a time. The Prouts also ran pheasant shoots for the wealthy residents of the area on Redhill Farm. Before long, it was very popular: Adrian ran the shoot and Kate saw to the catering. Adrian was a hard worker with a good instinct for business and was good with making money from the farm.

Kate finally had the time and space to enjoy her creative talents: sketching animals, arranging flowers, cooking, baking, made pieces of pottery… She was often seen out with the dogs in the town and talked to people – she became active in the community. She joined committees, arranged flowers at church. Kate went to church on Sundays and Adrian never accompanied her. But the fiery Kate didn’t seem to mind, she was happy in her own company and wouldn’t have it any other way. She loved long country walks, and everything seemed like it was a dream.

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~ Now, back to today’s episode ~

When Adrian’s 17-year-old daughter, Laura, from his first marriage came to stay with Adrian and Kate on Redhill Farm for a while, tensions inside the home began to rise. Especially when her boyfriend kept coming around, Kate was less than impressed. On Boxing Day 2006, Kate prepared a meal for the four of them, cooking all day. At the last minute, Laura and her boyfriend decided to go somewhere else for lunch. Kate was furious and told Laura exactly how she felt. The argument was so heated, Laura left and never came back. After Laura left, the discussion between Adrian and Kate continued. Kate followed Adrian out into the yard as he stormed out of the kitchen, he turned around and pushed her up against his Land Rover. He did it with so much force; it dented the metal of the car’s door.

Kate packed her bags and went to her brother Richard and his wife, Linda, to stay for a while. But before long she went back home to Adrian. The dust had settled, and she wanted to resume her idyllic life on the farm.

On the first of February 2007, she called her brother again: Adrian had been arrested after a domestic violence incident at their home. They got into another argument and plates were thrown. Yet again, the argument progressed out to the yard. It ended with Adrian holding Kate by her neck, dangling her over the edge of an empty swimming pool, threatening to drop her in.

It was a he-said, she-said situation with no eyewitnesses or evidence, so Adrian wasn’t charged with anything. Kate was shaken up and went to stay with Richard and Linda again. She told them Adrian didn’t know where she was and asked them not to tell him. But Adrian figured it out anyway. Because Richard had lied to him, Adrian became cold towards his brother-in-law. Their relationship never recovered.

During her time there, Kate opened up about her marriage, telling them the extent of Adrian’s controlling behaviour. Although she owned half the property and both of their money funded the businesses, he never gave her anything. If she wanted to buy something, she had to dig into her pension.

Richard and Linda thought that the marriage was over, but they didn’t realise that Kate and Adrian still had regular contact. A month after the domestic violence incident, Adrian asked Kate to come back to the farm so they could work things out. Despite her family’s concern, Kate agreed.

The happiness lasted only one night, the first night of reconciliation, but clearly, the issues between them were insurmountable. Kate realised their marriage was in trouble but felt she had to stay on the farm to protect her financial interests. A tumultuous summer followed.

Kate went away on holiday in September of that year to Salisbury with her half-sister. She hired a house sitter called Diane Bellamy to walk the dogs and water the plants while she was away, to help Adrian. But when she came back, she was surprised to discover that Adrian and Diane had become friendly. He took her clay pigeon shooting, something he never did with Kate. He even asked Kate to cook them lunch when they went out shooting. This request did not sit well with Kate at all.

In a last-ditch effort to save what remained of their crumbling marriage, Kate booked a trip to Italy in October. At the last minute, Adrian changed his mind about going, and Kate ended up taking her sister-in-law, Linda.

It was clear that their relationship had become strained and, they were living separate lives for the most part.

While Kate was in Italy, the house sitter came around to help Adrian out once more. By the time Kate came back, she strongly suspected Adrian was having an affair with Diane. Offended by the allegation, Diane called Linda and Richard and denied that she had an affair with Adrian. Kate felt like a fool and called Diane to apologise. And sure, perhaps they didn’t have a relationship, but that didn’t mean Adrian wasn’t keen on Diane.

At a pheasant shoot on Redhill Farm, Kate supplied the catering and socialised with the guests. Among them was Diane Bellamy. Kate drank quite a bit during the day and flung insinuations about an affair at Diane for everyone to hear. After the hunt, all the guests went to The Rose and Crown, a pub in town – Adrian’s preferred watering hole. Kate continued drinking and became verbally abusive towards Adrian’s daughter Laura and her boyfriend as well as Diane. Adrian tried to diffuse the situation, and Kate slapped him through the face.

It was a pretty awkward situation, and everyone left, the party was over. Kate spent the night at a neighbour’s house.

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~ Now, back to today’s episode ~

At the beginning of November 2007, Kate and Adrian had started with divorce proceedings. Kate sought legal advice and Redhill Farm was valued at £1.3 Million. In walking away from the marriage and the farm, she insisted on a settlement of £800,000 for her share. Adrian was only prepared to give her 600,000 because, to give her 800,000, he would be forced to sell the farm. The farm was his life’s dream; selling it was not an option.

Throughout the first week of November, Kate was nowhere to be seen in Redmarley or any of the surrounding villages. Everyone in town was preparing for the annual Bonfire Night, a popular celebration throughout the UK, with family activities and fireworks, to remember the famously failed ‘Gunpowder Plot of Guy Fawkes’. At first, nobody noticed that Kate was not doing her usual rounds. Also, because Kate was often away, so nobody realised that she was missing.

Richard and Linda tried calling both Kate and Adrian, but they could not get a hold of either of them. They asked David, a friend of Kate’s, who lived near Redhill Farm, to go and have a look if everything was okay. When he arrived, Kate’s car was there, but not Adrian’s. The house was open, so he let himself in. Nothing seemed out of place, but no one was there. He left and tried calling both on their cell phones, but neither of them answered.

When David finally got a hold of Adrian, he admitted that he hadn’t seen his wife since Monday. The friend suggested he called the police. They were surprised that he hadn’t done so already. Richard drove down immediately and joined David and Adrian on Red Hill Farm. Richard felt Adrian’s lack of emotion at Kate’s disappearance.

On the 10th of November, after he hadn’t seen her for five days, Adrian Prout called police to report his wife missing.

When an officer arrived at Redhill Farm to take Adrian’s statement, he noted that Kate’s car was still parked outside the house. When he asked Adrian about it, he said that her car keys were missing. She usually left them in the kitchen drawer, but they weren’t there. However, her phone was still at home.

During initial questioning, Adrian was asked where he had gone looking for Kate. Adrian had to admit that he had not searched for her. Usually, one would expect the husband of a missing woman to scour the surroundings, desperately looking for her raising the alarm with neighbours and friends. But Adrian said he didn’t think Kate was missing, so he never went looking for her. Police wanted to know why he waited so long before reporting her missing. Adrian assumed she had left on her own accord and that someone would have called him if she was not okay. He thought she had gone to her half-sister in Bexhill-on-Sea.

Investigators pieced together a timeline of Kate’s last movements. On Monday morning the 5th of November, Kate went to the village of Ledbury to buy groceries. On the same morning, Adrian went into the bank and was furious when he discovered that Kate had taken £15,000 – a substantial amount of money. He went back home and confronted her. She explained that the money was to pay legal fees related to their divorce. According to Adrian, he left after the argument, and when he returned to the farm, his wife was gone. That was around lunchtime. Kate was independent and had gone away by herself in the past, and he didn’t think it was strange, considering the tension between them.

First Direct Bank said that Kate had called on the afternoon of 5 November, around 3:30 pm, to confirm they had details of her inheritance money. She made mention of her intention to withdraw the money, that was in a joint account, shared with her husband, Adrian.

It looked like Kate was making plans to leave Redmarley. From a financial point of view, she would have been able to start over, away from Adrian. But it if finances were the biggest concern, it would have benefitted her more to stay. Her interests in the farm were worth much more than what she had in cash assets.

None of Kate’s relatives or friends had heard from Kate by the end of November and police had grave concerns for her safety. The last known person to speak to Kate was her sister-in-law, Linda. She said Kate sounded like her usual self, not distraught or anything like that. She asked about Linda and Richard’s children, and they discussed other menial things. They were in touch every day, so it wasn’t a significant call, and nothing seemed to be out of the  .

Linda knew about Kate’s plans to end her marriage. She said that Kate didn’t seem too depressed about it. For most of her adulthood, she was single by choice and was not daunted by the prospect of separating from Adrian. Her positive nature helped her to see that the split would be a good thing. Kate was rational in her approach, planning to find a little place somewhere and start from scratch. But first, she was determined to walk away with what was rightfully hers.

When Kate missed her niece’s 18th birthday, her family knew she was no longer alive. She had a close relationship with her niece and would not have let such a milestone gone by without – at the very least – a phone call or a birthday card. No matter what else was going on with Kate, she would never forget the birthday of a close family member.

Police had to exclude the possibility that there was an accident. Kate went on long walks with her dogs every day. Maybe she suffered an injury and was unable to move. Investigators asked neighbours if they had seen her dogs run free at any time after the 5th of November, but no one recalled seeing anything. When the first responding officer went to Redhill Farm to take the missing person’s report from Adrian, the dogs were home.

Adrian did not seem very concerned about his wife’s disappearance. The fact that he only reported her missing after five days, on the insistence of Kate’s brother and friend David, gave police enough reason to warrant a search of Redhill Farm. Searchers using ground-penetrating radar, looking for any signs of disturbance in the ground, perhaps a burial place.

Dozens of police officers combed the entire farm, including the woodlands where Adrian ran the Pheasant Shoot. Specialists also sifted through animal excrement in case there was any truth to the speculation going around town that Kate’s body was fed to the pigs. Despite their extensive efforts, they came up empty-handed.

Interestingly, a cadaver dog became restless and barked when he came into the lounge of the homestead. He was in the area between a sofa and the patio doors. The dog’s reaction indicated that a dead body had been on that particular spot, but when the police looked in the direct area, they could not find anything. There were no signs of a struggle and no blood evidence.

They processed the rest of the house extensively, but nothing suggested that a person had been murdered inside the home. What they did find, though, was Kate’s passport as well as credit cards, inside the house. Investigators felt that if Kate had left on her own accord, she would have taken these items with her. They had no forensic evidence to prove that Kate had been murdered, but the longer she remained missing, the more police believed that she was no longer alive.

While police searched the house on Redhill Farm, Adrian stayed with his good friend Ted, Kate’s brother. Ted and Adrian had been close friends for many years, and Ted wanted to give Adrian the benefit of the doubt. One night, after dinner, Ted’s wife mentioned that Kate would have a fit if she knew what police were doing to her house. To which Adrian quietly replied:

“She’s never coming back.”

This statement sent chills down her spine. More than ever, Kate’s family was sure that Adrian knew more about Kate’s disappearance than he was letting on. Even Ted had to admit that Adrian’s presence in his home at that time made him feel uncomfortable. Adrian insisted, however, that he didn’t harm her in any way and that he believed she was missing because she didn’t want to be found.

If that was the case, Kate had to be informed that she was the subject of a missing person’s inquiry. Police released news to the media and appealed to the public for any information. Kate’s brother Richard appealed to Kate on national TV, saying that if she was in hiding, to please check-in and tell them that she was safe.

Towards the end of November, Kate had not touched any of her bank accounts. She had not made any phone calls or accessed her email. Police also looked at her husband, Adrian’s phone records. What they found was an excessive amount of texts and phone calls between Adrian and the house sitter, Diane Bellamy. They had contacted each other 171 times in the preceding weeks. In fact, on the day Kate vanished, Adrian sent Diane a text message, saying he loved her.

Villagers gossiped that Kate had had enough of Adrian’s flirtation with Diane and decided to leave Adrian. Stickybeaks speculated if perhaps she met another man when she went to Italy… Of course, everyone loves a mystery, so there was also speculation that Adrian had ended Kate’s life so he could be with the house sitter. People looked at Diane Bellamy, wondering if she had anything to do with Kate vanishing. Diane made an official statement to police that Adrian had tried to kiss her on more than one occasion, but she told him that she wasn’t interested, as she had a boyfriend and Adrian was married. Adrian didn’t seem deterred and kept telling her how lovely she was.

On 20 November, two weeks after Kate was last seen, Diane was arrested, as police believed she had something to do with Kate’s disappearance. She was later released due to a lack of evidence. In an interview with a local newspaper, a tearful Diane said:

“I’ve known the [Prout] family for a long time… I’m not [Adrian’s] girlfriend, and I never have been. I’m sick and tired of people saying I was. I should never have been arrested because I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Some weeks later, Diane had a change of heart and went to police with an unsettling story. She told them that soon after Kate’s disappearance, she met Adrian for dinner at a pub – The Dog at Over – where she asked him if he knew what had happened to Kate. According to Diane, Adrian said someone took her away and that she shouldn’t ask any questions. That confirmed to her that he was somehow involved. She co-operated with police, and it was clear she had no prior knowledge of Kate’s disappearance. There was no plot between her and Adrian, and she genuinely did not know what had happened to Kate.

After her statement to police, Diane became weary of Adrian and avoided him at all cost. He contacted her once more and asked if she would care for his dogs if he were sent to prison. She was not quite sure what to make of that. Was it an admission of guilt on his part?

On the 27th of November 2007, three weeks after his wife went missing, police arrested 45-year-old Adrian Prout on suspicion of murder. They conducted a second, extensive search of the 276-acre Redhill Farm as well as the Prout home. They used a helicopter with heat sensors, looking for any sign of Kate.

Many police vehicles and an array of equipment were used during the search, and it caused quite a stir in the otherwise quiet Gloucestershire community. Journalists swarmed to Redmarley, hoping to find out more about the story that sounded like an episode of Midsomer Murders. Some reports sensationalised the case, calling Adrian a ‘millionaire farmer’ and speculating whether he fed his wife’s body to the pigs. Other stories looked into his pipe-laying experience and wondered if he had disposed of Kate’s body in a pipe ditch somewhere.

The second search also yielded no significant evidence and police could not find anything that indicated Adrian had anything to do with Kate’s disappearance. Without strong enough evidence, they had to release him. The case was not closed, and Kate’s family was afraid that it would never be solved.

But the police never gave up. They felt that Adrian Prout was responsible for whatever happened to Kate. They also publicly stated that it was unlikely Kate was still alive. In May 2008, Acting Detective Superintendent Kelly wrote an open letter to Redmarley residents, telling them he believed Kate Prout was dead. He wrote the letter to inform residents to expect investigators to knock on their doors, to gather more evidence. Here is an exert from DS Kelly’s letter:

“There has been a lot of suspicion in the village about what happened to [Kate Prout], unlike our view that she is dead… Some people thought it was a disappearing act and she would come back…Going back to Redmarley is to set the record straight – this is our position, it’s a murder investigation, we do think she is no longer alive.”

Back on Redhill Farm, Adrian Prout’s life went on as before. He ran the farm and regular pheasant shoots. Despite having been accused of Kate’s murder, he remained the sole beneficiary of her will, awarding him just over £600,000.

Neighbours made peace with the fact that the demure farmer had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance, felt sorry for him. Not only did his wife leave him, but he was also accused of the most terrible things. Journalists left the town, gossip settled down, and to any new-comer, things would seem normal as can be.

Adrian became romantically involved with a local woman called Debbie Garlick, who lived in Corse, a nearby village. He met her through mutual friends who all believed his version of events regarding Kate’s absence. They had no reason not to. Adrian was quite reserved, always polite and quite the gentleman. Debbie was a divorcée who had two children in their late-teens, similar in age to Adrian’s daughter Laura. They had a lot in common. Debbie knew about Kate’s disappearance but never thought Adrian was capable of hurting anyone. Adrian told her that Kate had stormed off after an argument and disappeared because she wanted to ‘wind him up’.

At the beginning of February 2009, 14 months after Kate’s disappearance, police declared that Adrian Prout was no longer a suspect in the disappearance of his wife. He was relieved and decided it was time to put everything behind him. With the cloud of suspicion lifted, Adrian asked Debbie to move into the farmhouse at Redhill Farm. Debbie agreed but wasn’t a hundred percent comfortable with the arrangement. Later on, she said:

“I was nervous because I kept expecting Kate to turn up. I honestly thought she had just run off and was trying to punish him.’

Kate never did turn up again. But Adrian and Debbie’s bliss was about to be interrupted by someone else. After living together for only three weeks, police showed up early on the morning of March 10th 2009 and arrested Adrian for the second time. This time, he was charged with the murder of his wife.

The arrest was made after investigators discovered Kate’s diary in her car, outlining Adrian’s abusive behaviour. It was evident that her marriage to Adrian was far from happy. One inscription recalls a conversation she’d had with him, in which he told her that he did not want to be married to her any longer, as he a no ‘real feelings for her anymore‘. She wrote that it was over between them and it devastated her, as she still loved him. Another inscription read:

“Officially separated now. I was very frightened to return. He went mad, I really thought that my end had come. I was very, very shaken.”

After Adrian’s arrest, Debbie still burnt a torch for him and fought for Adrian’s release. She felt that Kate had planted the diary as part of her plan to make Adrian’s life a living hell, revenge for the money he didn’t want to give her. After four weeks in custody, Adrian was released on bail.

During this time, he tried to run the farm like before, with Debbie by his side. While Adrian was waiting for his trial, Debbie fell pregnant. It was June 2009 and he was hopeful that he would be acquitted. He proposed to Debbie and she said yes. Debbie had her labour induced a week before Adrian’s trial began, so he could meet his baby before the legal battle began.

Adrian Prout’s trial began on the 21st of January 2010 at Bristol Crown Court. The accused arrived with his girlfriend Debbie by his side. He pleaded innocent, maintaining that he was every bit as mystified by his wife’s disappearance as everyone else. It was a challenging case for the prosecution, as Kate’s body had never been found. But they felt there was enough circumstantial evidence to go for a ‘no body conviction’.

And the gamble paid off… On the 5th of February 2010, with a 10-1 majority jury vote, Adrian Prout was convicted of the murder of his wife Kate, and sentenced to life, with a minimum of 18 years. Because of the guilty verdict, Adrian was prohibited from receiving the money left to him in Kate’s will. Instead, a clause provided by Kate, was honoured. It stated that in the event of her death, if ‘his gift fails for any reason’ her assets should go to her family, shared with the Great Ormond Street Hospital and other charities.

Adrian was behind bars, but he still maintained his innocence. But where was Kate’s body? There was justice perhaps, but not closure. Police knew that, as long as they did not know where her remains were, Kate’s family and friends would never have closure. Investigators were more adamant than ever to find Kate’s final resting place. However, on the 14th of May 2010 – two and a half years after she went missing, police had to give up the search for good.

Adrian’s family and friends never doubted his innocence and Debbie spearheaded a ‘wrongful conviction campaign’ to set things straight. She started a Facebook Page, appealing to the public for information about Kate’s disappearance. The motto of Adrian’s supporters was:

“No body, no proof, no justice.”

Adrian’s daughter, Laura also posted on the Facebook Page, saying:

“4 Week Old Baby And Laura Lost Their Dad Over Lies!”

Debbie used the platform to ask followers to report sightings of Kate. She put up a £10,000 reward for any information. Debbie followed up leads, all the way to Ireland after a reported sighting, but the person turned out NOT to be Kate.

There was also a petition, put out by Debbie, asking for Adrian’s release. Four hundred seventy-one people signed it.

In her efforts, Debbie felt sympathy for Kate’s family. They had no closure. Although she was defending the man accused of killing Kate, they all wanted the same thing: the truth. Debbie thought that if Adrian could prove his innocence to Kate’s family, they could perhaps work together to find out what happened.

Debbie convinced Adrian to take a lie detector test to support his claims. If he didn’t have anything to hide, he had nothing to lose by taking the test. She saw it as a formality, nothing else. Debbie said to Adrian, in a hypothetical statement, that if he did know more about Kate’s presumed death than he was letting on, then, hopefully, the Wakefield family could finally have a burial. To Debbie’s surprise, Adrian had a strange response. He simply said:

“She’s had one.”

Meaning: she’s had a burial. Debbie didn’t want to believe what she had heard. It was too terrible to imagine. She didn’t ask him about it and felt that she must have misunderstood him somehow. She tried to forget about it, and focus on planning their jailhouse wedding that was scheduled a couple of weeks after the polygraph. Besides, Adrian had sworn to Debbie on their baby daughter’s life that he was innocent. She had to believe him; she wanted to believe him.

In August 2011 polygraph expert, Don Cargill conducted the test on Adrian Prout. The results showed that he was deceitful in answering the following questions:

  • Did you kill Kate Prout or arrange for another to murder her?
  • Were you directly responsible for the disappearance of Kate Prout?
  • Did you arrange for anyone to abduct or harm Kate Prout?
  • Are you aware of the whereabouts of Kate Prout’s body?

The polygraph examiner said to Prout that, according to the test, he was a murderer. Adrian only smiled and did not even try to deny it. Don Cargill said that seeing Adrian Prout’s sardonic smile was:

“…one of the most surreal and chilling experiences in my life.”

Polygraph evidence is not admissible in UK courts as evidence. Criminologists have questioned the method over time, but in this particular case, it was the polygraph that ended up solving it. Not only because of the results, but because of Adrian Prout’s reaction to it. He knew his number was up, and after years of lying about his involvement in his wife’s disappearance, he finally owned up to it.

Debbie learnt about the outcome and went to see him, hoping that there was a mistake. It didn’t take much for Debbie to convince Adrian to confess to her. He admitted that he was the one who had killed Kate. Debbie recalled the moment he told her the truth:

“At first, I could not believe this person I had fallen in love with had killed and buried someone. He looked – was – so normal; so believable. Yet it was as if, in the blink of an eye, he became a different person. I looked at him and thought, ‘You disgust me.”‘

Debbie had the unthinkable decision to make: should she tell police what the father of her child had told her? After years of selflessly campaigning for his release, firmly believing in his innocence, she had to admit that she was wrong. She, like everyone else, had been deceived by Adrian Prout. Debbie realised that she only had one option, and that was to go to the police.

After Debbie’s statement, police interviewed Adrian Prout in prison. He was finally ready to tell them what happened to Kate. He told police that on Monday the 5th of November 2007, he was preparing for a pheasant shoot on the farm. Kate came up to him and started talking about their impending divorce. It soon turned into a heated argument about the money. He snapped and in a fit of rage, he attacked her and strangled her. He claimed he didn’t intend to kill her and only realised she was no longer alive when it was already too late.

Adrian knew he had to conceal what he had done. He poured himself a stiff whisky and sat down for a minute to drink it. After downing the last sip, he kicked into action.

Adrian wrapped his wife’s lifeless body in a curtain and carried her out to his rickety old Land Rover. Being on a farm, he was confident that no one would see him. But then, instead of disposing of Kate’s body, Adrian decided to go to the pub. He met up with a couple of friends, had some beers before returning home. In the cover of darkness, he drove to the woods, dug a hole and buried his wife. The next morning he got up and hosted a pheasant shoot on his farm.

Adrian Prout took police to the shallow grave where he had buried his wife. She was never far from home, in fact, only about a mile from the farmhouse, in a pen in the woods where Adrian raised young pheasants. He used a shovel to dig a hole of 5ft deep and 5ft long and buried her remains. Prout was unable to show investigators the exact spot but narrowed it down to a 300 square yard area. Police sealed off the area and officers patrolled it 24/7 while they were waiting for a search team to arrive.

Police had searched the area before, in the weeks after Kate was reported missing, and could not find anything. There was thick undergrowth, and during the initial searches, nothing indicated that this was the location. On Thursday the 24th November 2011, four years after the murder, after four days of looking for her, police found human remains. It was under a feeder on the edge of the area Adrian Prout had pointed out. Dental records confirmed that the remains belonged to Kate Wakefield Prout.

Her family was relieved that they finally had the closure they needed. On the 4th of January 2012, Kate’s family held a private cremation and paid their last respects. And although they finally knew what had happened to Kate, it would never bring her back. Her brother Richard said that the years of uncertainty was like a prison sentence in itself. The family always felt Adrian had something to do with Kate’s death, but they never thought he’d ever tell them what happened. At least they know, but what a terrible truth to face…

As a matter of final procedure, to close the case, an inquest held in May 2012 found that her husband, Adrian Prout unlawfully killed Kate Prout on the 5th of November 2007. At the hearing, Detective Inspector Steve Bean said:

“When Adrian Prout took us to the farm, he was definitely very remorseful and did apologise to the friends and family of Kate, telling them he should have said from the start what he did.”

Adrian’s ex-fiancée Debbie was left to rebuild her life with their baby daughter. Debbie’s 18-year-old daughter, Jade, said that Prout was always kind to her, and he was good to her mom. When they moved in, he had decorated a room for her to make her feel welcome. She recalled that he took them for walks on the farm, in Cobhill Wood past the grave where he had buried Kate, never showing any signs of guilt or remorse.

After they found Kate’s remains, Jade asked Prout why he’d agreed to take the polygraph if he knew he was guilty. He said that he thought he could beat it – an arrogant statement from someone who had convinced many people of his innocence for four years. Adrian even let them campaign for him, fighting to free him.

A month after Kate’s remains were found he sent Debbie a Christmas Card, saying he was sorry about everything and asked her not to turn her back on him. Debbie threw the card away.

Adrian Prout is serving his time in Garth Prison near Blackpool. Debbie and their daughter moved out of the house on Redhill Farm, which was sold by Kate’s family. Adrian’s dream, his land, like his freedom, lost to him forever.

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