The Aylesbury man accused of murdering his wealthy business partner today admitted telling police a ‘pack of lies’ when they were investigating her disappearance, but denied killing her.
Giving evidence in his defence, Christopher Symons, 63, said he lied to detectives about dropping Patricia Goodband, 76, at Milton Keynes railway station on December 22 last year so she could visit a friend in Yorkshire.
Mr Symons also admitted making his 73-year-old lover Jennifer Creasey write a Christmas card to Ms Goodband from a woman called Sue who he claimed lived in Stockton-on-Tees, which said she was looking forward to her visit.
However, he denied murdering his friend of 30 years Ms Goodband, whose body was found dumped down a 12ft disused shaft in the back garden of her home in Woodham, near Waddesdon, on January 21.
Taking the stand at Reading Crown Court in a grey suit, the defendant said he lied to officers because Ms Goodband had asked him to deceive people about her whereabouts over the Christmas period.
Prosecutor Joanna Glynn QC asked Mr Symons why he told officers he and his friend Robert Taft had dropped Ms Goodband off at the station on the morning of December 22.
The prosecutor said: “It was a lie she got out at Milton Keynes train station wasn’t it?”
He replied: “It was.”
Miss Glynn then asked: “It was a lie she had an envelope with Virgin Trains on it with her?”
Mr Symons said: “It was.”
The prosecutor added: “It was a lie she had a wedge of cash with her wasn’t it?”
He said: “Yes, because she was not with us.
“I had arranged with Pat, on her request, that if anybody asked her whereabouts between Christmas and the New Year, that was what I had to say.
“I stuck with what I arranged with Pat to say.”
Mr Symons agreed he was worried about Ms Goodband, who he ran a haulage firm with out of her home.
Miss Glynn asked: “If you were worried about her, why didn’t you tell police the truth?”
Mr Symons replied: “It’s what she asked me to agree to do and I did it.”
Miss Glynn accused Mr Symons of lying to police because he had ‘devised a plan which worked perfectly well as long as Pat’s body had not been found’. He denied this.
The prosecutor said: “You needed to absolve yourself from any association with her death or disappearance.”
Mr Symons said: “I didn’t see it like that.”
The trial has heard Mr Symons sent a text message from Ms Goodband’s phone to his mobile from within the confines of her home, Akeman House, after she disappeared.
The text suggested she had arrived in Yorkshire. However, he said that too was part of Ms Goodband’s instructions to him.
Mr Symons said: “She told me the contents to go in the (Christmas) card and she told me the contents of the text.”
Miss Glynn asked: “You were a suspect in a very serious case. Why didn’t you tell police that?”
Bespectacled Symons replied: “I think I was very frightened when I was with the police. I had never been in a police interview in my life.”
However, he again denied that he had lied to ‘cover his tracks’ from detectives who were investigating Ms Goodband’s disappearance.
The jury also heard how Mr Symons had cheated on his wife Anita with Ms Creasey over a 30-year period. He admitted he had other mistresses which he hid from each other by lying.
Mr Symons’ sister Kathleen Adams, 74, of Aylesbury Road, Princes Risborough, denies one count of perverting the course of justice by lying to police.
Ms Creasey, of Benson, also denies perverting the course of justice by writing the Sue Christmas card and lying to police.
The trial continues.