Pig farmer who killed wife was known as ‘Dirty David’ after bedding string of lovers


A pig farmer who murdered his wife and dumped her body in a septic tank was nicknamed ‘Dirty David’ after bedding a string of mistresses.

David Venables faces a life sentence after being convicted of the grisly killing by jurors today.

He was notorious for his womanising as he repeatedly cheated on “prim and proper” wife Brenda, we can reveal.

Workers on his 440-acre pig farm in Worcestershire dubbed him ‘Dirty David’ after he bragged about his sordid affairs.

Venables murdered tragic Brenda, 48, in May 1982 because he wanted to continue a 14-year fling with lover Lorraine Styles.

He got away with the crime for nearly 40 years until his wife’s skull was found in the cesspit when it was being emptied in 2019.

The 89-year-old will now die behind bars after being convicted of murder by jurors at Worcester crown court.

Lorraine, who died in 2017, was just one of a string of lovers Venables had during the course of his 21-year marriage.

A former farm hand told the Mirror: “It was all a long time ago, but those of us who were around back then remember David well.

“He was a ladies man and clearly wasn’t the sort of guy who was happy settling for just the one lady.

“Poor Brenda had her problems. She was an old-fashioned housewife-type and desperately wanted children.

“For whatever reason, it didn’t happen for them. I think it ruined their marriage and led to David playing away from home.

“Everyone knew about Lorraine, they’d been at it for years. But honestly, she wasn’t the only one.

“It was different times back then, men thought they could have any woman they wanted, even if they were married.”

During his cross-examination Venables denied having relationships with any other women during his marriage.

But the former farm hand, who is now in his late 60s, said: “That’s a load of rubbish and he knows it.

“David was one of the bosses, a rich guy in a small village, and had the pick of local women and farm staff.

“We all knew what he was up to and called him Dirty David behind his back. It was a running joke with all the workers.

“It wasn’t like he was a good looking bloke, I think the ladies were just seduced by his power.”

After dumping her body in the septic tank of their isolated farmhouse, he walked into a police station and reported her missing.

Venables lived at the farm for the next 32 years while keeping up the pretence his wife had left him.

When quizzed by police he tried to blame her disappearance on serial killer Fred West, who lived in neighbouring Gloucestershire.

Venables periodically drained the tank and spread the waste matter mixed with slurry from pig farms on his fields.

Brenda’s body was discovered in July 2019 when work was carried out on the septic tank at Quaking House Farm.

Venables told his lover Ms Styles in late 1981 that he wanted to settle down with her and spoke about divorcing Brenda.

Prosecutor Michael Burrows QC told jurors: “He wanted his wife out of the way. He wanted to resume his long-standing affair.

“He knew about the septic tank in its secluded location. It was for him almost the perfect hiding place.”

Mr Burrows said the location meant Venables avoided the “risk of being seen disposing of her body somewhere else”.

He added: “And, of course, even if someone did think to look inside the tank, her body would be hidden from view.

“And for nearly 40 years, it was the perfect place and he got away with murder.”

Friends and farm workers described Brenda as “very prim and proper and very pleasant and always polite”.

The couple married in 1960 and did not have any children, which Venables said left Brenda “disappointed and depressed”.

Police were first alerted to Brenda’s disappearance on May 4, 1982, when Venables reported his wife missing.

He claimed he woke up to find her missing and said she had been depressed, suggesting she may have committed suicide.

Venables carried on living at the farmhouse in Kempsey, Worcs, until 2014,

when he sold it to his nephew and his wife.

When they had the septic tank drained, horrified workers discovered the skeletal remains of Brenda.

Venables faces a mandatory life term when he is sentenced on Wednesday.

Brenda’s nieces and nephews said they had “waited 40 years” for justice and accused Venables of “deceit, lies and fabrications”.

They expressed regret that she had been unable to leave Venables and hoped the case may inspire other women in abusive relationships to seek help.

“There are good people out there, who can and will help,” they said in a statement.

“Our heartfelt thanks to the member of the public who found her remains three years ago.”

Det Sgt James Beard, of West Mercia Police, said Brenda was killed “by the person who was meant to care for her most”.