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Court reporter writes true crime novel based on ‘story of a lifetime’

Andy Done-JohnsonA journalist who broke a murder story which is set to become a major TV drama has written a novel based on his coverage of the case.

Andy Done-Johnson covered the Wycherley Murders for the Mansfield Chad and has now written ‘A Garden of Bones’, which tells the story of the case through his eyes.

In 2013, the skeletal remains of elderly couple William and Patricia Wycherley were unearthed from the back garden of the house after their mysterious disappearance 15 years earlier.

They had been murdered by Susan and Christopher Edwards, their daughter and son-in-law, and then “kept alive in the eyes of the world” – with letters and cards being sent to relatives, doctors and public bodies in their names.

Andy, pictured, was the first journalist on the scene when the Wycherleys’ bodies were discovered.

The novel is based on his experiences of covering the case, the interviews he conducted and his own notes from the time and the 23 days he sat through the murder trial.

Andy, who is now a court reporter for the Chad and its other JPIMedia sister titles in the North Midlands and South Yorkshire, said: “At the time, the Wycherley Murders attracted massive media interest, with all the major national broadcasters and publishers descending on Mansfield to get to the bottom of what had happened.

“I got lucky, I suppose. We got a tip-off before the police alerted the rest of the media and I made it down to the murder scene first. I got a head start and, as I spoke to neighbours and people who remembered the Wycherleys and the day the pair vanished, the whole macabre story came spilling out. As a journalist, it was the story of a lifetime.”

The case is the basis of a new Sky Atlantic and HBO drama starring Oscar winner Olivia Colman.

Andy added: “I’d always hoped to write a book but it was only after I was contacted by producers who wanted to make true crime documentaries about the case, and the BBC, which was thinking about making a drama, that I realised that the Wycherley Murders and the crimes of Susan and Christopher Edwards was the story I had to tell.

“It’s difficult to know what to compare it to – it’s part memoir, part novel and part true crime book.

“It’s a novel that is based on fact, on real events. It features real people and only gives them the words they said at the time, all preserved in a few hundred pages of shorthand notepads.”

A Garden of Bones will be published on Amazon and IngramSpark on 20 March and is available in print and ebook formats.

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  • March 12, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    After many hours of research,anguish,perseverance,dedication and support from his loving family and friends, ITS OUT!

    Only have praise for all involved.

    Good luck with it you certainly derserve it!

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