Page last updated at 14:18 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Murdered wife's body 'may never be found'


Prout said he believed his wife had gone off on a 'wobbler'

The body of murdered teacher Kate Prout may never be found unless her husband admits where she is, the officer who led the investigation into her murder has said.

Adrian Prout, 47, was convicted earlier of his wife's murder after a three-week trial, but the ordeal will not be over for her family until they can lay her body to rest.

Mrs Prout, 55, disappeared on 5 November 2007, the day after she asked her husband, of Redmarley, near Gloucester, for a divorce settlement.

The police search has now been abandoned unless new evidence comes to light.

Her family welcomed the guilty verdict, but said being able to bury her body would be "the best thing" to give them closure.

He's been very calm, very unconcerned, very undemonstrative
Acting Det Supt Neil Kelly on Prout

Bristol Crown Court heard how Mrs Prout demanded £800,000 from her husband before she went missing from their 276-acre farm.

Mr Prout, who owned a pipe-laying business and commercial pheasant shoot, had said he would need to sell £1.2m Redhill Farm in order to do that and instead offered her £600,000 plus maintenance.

The court heard that Mrs Prout had also suspected her husband was having an affair with his housesitter Diane Bellamy.

Prout reported his wife missing on 10 November. Her wallet and credit cards, shoes and clothes were all left behind. He denied her murder and told the court her disappearance was "probably to wind me up".

Kate Prout as a young woman
The court heard that Mrs Prout had a volatile personality

Acting Det Supt Neil Kelly said he suspected Prout of murder about four days after he reported her missing.

"There were some key features that led to that conclusion, the most obvious being the five-day delay in reporting Kate missing," he said.

"I would think by about 14 November it was turning into a murder investigation rather than a simple missing person inquiry."

He said Prout's demeanour had remained consistent throughout the inquiry: "He's been very calm, very unconcerned, very undemonstrative and a 'flat line' essentially.

"It's not how you expect an individual in his position to behave.

"Some questions put to him were met with 'no comment'. In significant other areas we would say he modified his story to the extent he's lied initially."

Mr Kelly said the most likely explanation for the killing was that Prout reached his breaking point when "something erupted" at the farm.

"One of the questions I'll be asking in the right circumstances of Adrian Prout is 'where is Kate?'," Mr Kelly said.

'We would like closure'

"In the absence of an answer to that, there will only be no further searches unless information points us in a particular direction.

"This, of course, has made what happened even more distressing for her family, who have never been able to say a proper goodbye."

Mrs Prout's brother, Richard Wakefield, who attended the trial, said: "We would like closure.

"If we could find out where Kate was, to have her buried, that would be the best thing.

"Nothing will bring Kate back to us but the conclusion of this case may go some way towards allowing us to move forward."

Redhill Farm
The farm where Mr and Mrs Prout lived was valued at 1.2m

Mr Wakefield, 59, said he had always got on with Prout previously: "It's very difficult, to think the man married to Kate could kill her... is something to come to terms with."

He said his sister had taught at schools in both Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and loved children.

"She liked her home to be clean and tidy and took pride in her appearance, making sure she was well-presented and fashionably dressed," he added. "She was quite private but always spoke her mind."

He agreed that his sister could be "a bit volatile" at times, but said it would not be without good reason.

"On the whole, she was an ordinary person going about her business."

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