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LD Woman Julie Beards, 45 And Husband, 44, Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder Of LD Woman Susan Whiting, 20

August 20, 2015

A couple have been arrested on suspicion of murder after police hunting for a missing woman with learning disabilities found a body.

Susan Whiting, 20, had been reported missing by her mother at lunchtime on Monday after she failed to return to her home in Bloxwich, Walsall, West Midlands.

Today, police searching a property half-a-mile away from her house confirmed a body had been found. 

The couple who live in the property, named locally as Steve Beards, 44, and his wife and Julie, 45 – who has learning difficulties – are now being questioned on suspicion of murder.

The bungalow remains cordoned off while forensic specialists examine the property. A blue forensic tent has also been erected in the back garden of the £100,000 bungalow.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: ‘The body is yet to be formally identified and a post mortem will take place in due course to establish the cause of death, which at present is being treated as suspicious.’

A police spokesman also said the case had also been referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the police watchdog.

It is understood Miss Whiting’s family had raised concerns about her contact with the arrested couple prior to her death. Residents said the bungalows in the close where the body was found is for vulnerable adults. 

Nearby resident Mark Hopkins, 45, said today that the whole incident had been ‘shocking’. 

‘I was out yesterday and came back to see the close sealed off. My heart goes out to her family,’ he said. 

The bungalow where the body was found remains cordoned off with uniformed police officers and forensic specialists examining the property

‘We moved here thinking it was a nice area. I’ve never seen so many police in my life. They haven’t told us what’s going on, they’ve just told us that we will hear about it on the news.’

He added: ‘Julie has learning difficulties. She used to push teddy bears around in wheelchairs while we were all in our back gardens.’  

A neighbour who lived near Ms Whiting said she had been adopted by her mother Maureen after being in care as a young child.

He added: ‘She was a lovely young woman who did have learning difficulties. She was always bubbly, up for a chat. What has happened to her is just heartbreaking.’ 

A neighbour living near to the Beards, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘We were told they found the body under the bed but they look like they hebeen searching in gardens too so who knows what they have found. 

‘Susan knew the couple and had been round before, which I’m told her family were not too happy about.

‘Cops were there on Monday so how on earth its took them this long to find the girl in the house is beyond me. I just feel so sorry for the families of everyone involved.’  


Today, the principal of Walsall Adult and Community College, where Ms Whiting was a student, paid tribute the ‘cheerful and lively’ young woman. She had attended the college for around three years and had recently completed a diploma.

Principal Jev Bhalla said Ms Whiting was preparing to embark on a career in hospitality and catering. 

He added: ‘Susan came to us as a young girl and became more confident every year. Last year she completed her diploma in hospitality and catering and worked at our bistro at the college.

‘Susan has always been a cheerful and lively girl and our thoughts are with her family at this unimaginably difficult time.’ 

After launching a search for Ms Whiting, police had said they were ‘very concerned for her wellbeing’.  

A member of her family added at the time: ‘All her family and friends are extremely worried about her. She has learning difficulties.’  

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Chunky permalink
    August 21, 2015 9:13 am

    Stories from the DM are rarely correct try the local news!
    The police haven’t named the suspects either, they have been named by local gossips and they are to be released by 3pm if no charges are brought against them.

  2. Chunky permalink
    August 21, 2015 6:10 pm

    They Have now been charged with murder

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