After ten-year hunt, police expect to find body on farm
EVERY time Victor Bates hears a report about a body being found he has to take a break from what he is doing.
For ten years he has waited for answers about what happened to James Brodie – the man suspected of shooting dead his wife Marian Bates.
And yesterday – just days after he heard of another body being found in Notts – the police confirmed they were once again searching for Brodie's body.
"How does one feel after ten years?" said Mr Bates, 74, speaking from his Rainworth home. "The police have gone down this path many times in the past but nothing has transpired.
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"They found a body at Everton over the weekend and I thought maybe that was it.
"I hope the police have some reward for the work they've put in because they've dug up half of Nottinghamshire looking for him. This is on the presumption that he's dead."
Police believe the remains of Brodie are buried in the grounds of a Lincolnshire farm house.
Officers say Brodie might have been killed at Maize Farm, East Heckington, close to the rural town of Sleaford.
Yesterday, officers from two forces, supported by a helicopter, moved onto the farm just before midday.
They began by assessing a large plot of land around the seven-bedroomed farmhouse, in advance of more in-depth searches, which were scheduled to begin today.
Back in 2005, Maize Farm was the home address of Darren Peters, aged 37, who was jailed for four years in 2006 after he admitted conspiring to commit misconduct in public office. He was one of several people, including crime boss Colin Gunn, jailed in connection with a police corruption conspiracy involving PC Charles Fletcher.
It is not clear whether the farm is still Mr Peters' home.
But the search is the latest development in a decade-long investigation into the brutal killing of Mrs Bates.
The 64-year-old grandmother was shot dead in front of her family during a robbery at the Time Centre in Arnold, Notts, on September 30, 2003. The couple had owned the jewellery shop.
Peter Williams was convicted of Mrs Bates' murder at Stafford Crown Court in 2005.
Police have travelled to Glasgow, searched a fish farm in Leicestershire, land near Flintham, and flats in Top Valley and Bulwell over the years, but are not known to have searched any other locations since 2007.
Yesterday, acting on fresh intelligence, Notts and Lincolnshire officers moved on to the farm, which is just off the A17.
Just before noon, about 15 officers entered the grounds. Police used a helicopter, a number of undercover cars, two operational support vans and an underwater and specialist search unit.
Detective chief inspector Rob Griffin said: "On September 30 there was a botched robbery at a jewellers in Notts, the result of which, tragically, led to Marian Bates being shot and killed. James Brodie, who was then 20, remains a suspect in that murder investigation. Since that date he has not been seen alive.
"Undetected murders get put under regular review and this has been revisited. The latest information received has led us to Lincolnshire. Search experts will come in and the team will get bigger as the week goes on."
Mr Griffin said he was confident police would find the body of Brodie on Maize Farm.
Brodie is also wanted for three armed robberies and a racially aggravated assault, all of which were committed in a 12-hour period three weeks before Mrs Bates was killed. These included an attack on youth worker Derek Senior, who was shot after he testified against others involved in the assault.
Tomorrow: Victor Bates on his decade without Marian.