In the Media

David Burgess jailed for 27 years for 1966 murder of Yolande Waddington

PUBLISHED July 23, 2012

The 65-year-old seemed not to care as he was handed his third life sentence after being convicted of murdering Yolande Waddington almost half a century ago.

He was already serving a life sentence for murdering two schoolgirls in the same village, the year before.

The killer was told he would serve a minimum of 27 years in prison for the murder of Yolande, meaning he will be 92 years of age before he can be considered for release by the parole board.

Burgess who has repeatedly admitted the killing and then for years taunted police to "prove it," could be heard laughing with a prison guard as he was led from the court.

He stabbed and strangled the 17-year-old children's nanny before dumping her naked body in a ditch more than 45 years ago, in the sexually motivated crime.

The brute, who served more than 25 years for drowning one nine-year-old girl and slitting the throat of another in the same sleepy Berkshire village of Beenham, thought he had got away with the 17-year-old's murder after it went unsolved for almost 50 years.

Burgess, now aged 65 years, was re-arrested last year after advances in DNA profiling.

High Court Judge Mr Justice Nicol told Burgess: "The stab wounds which you inflicted to her front and back did not kill her.

"It is not possible to determine the precise sequence of events thereafter but they included the following:

"You stripped her of her sweater and her pants. You tied her hands behind her back. You wound a piece of baling twine around her neck four times and strangled her to death. You tied another jumper around her head.

"Her body, which was now otherwise naked except for her socks, was dumped by you in a water-filled ditch.

"Yolande Waddington was only 17. She had just started work as a nanny for a local family. There are many signs that she was a young woman with a zest for life and excited by the prospect of a new job in new surrondings.

"Abruptly you cut all that short. It was a tragedy for her. It was a tragedy for all her family as her brother made clear in his personal statement. It was a tragedy for the small community of Beenham where this happened. It spread fear and suspicion. You denied any involvement in her death."

Nine members of the jury who spent more than five days deliberating before reaching their majority guilty verdict, returned to see Burgess sentenced.

The triple killer appeared bored with proceedings as he sat in the dock with his feet up, cleaning his glasses as the barristers' discussed with the Judge his sentence.

Children's nurse Yolande Waddington had been in Beenham for just a matter of days when she was murdered and her body dumped in a ditch.

The 17-year-old had gone to the Six Bells public house just before last orders were called on the night of October 28, 1966 to buy a packet of cigarettes.

She was never seen alive again after leaving the pub, where her killer had also been drinking.

Burgess, who was aged just 19 years at the time, stabbed and strangled Yolande before dumping her body in a ditch.

She was found two days later, on October 30 1966.

Blood splattered items of Yolande's clothing were also discovered in a nearby barn and a large scale murder investigation was launched.

Burgess had scratch marks on his face and a cut finger while a bloody penknife like one he had owned was found at the scene.

During the probe officers took statements from more than 4,000 people and blood samples from all of the 200 men in the village - believed to be one of the first mass blood screenings.

As one of the last people to see Yolande alive, Burgess was a main suspect, however for unknown reasons officer's were left bewildered when he was found not to be a match.

The investigation was wound down in early 1967 but was never closed.

On April 17 that year, two nine-year-old girls - Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams - left their home in the same village of Beenham to go out to play.

They were never seen alive again and Burgess was one of many villagers who joined in the hunt to find them.

Their bodies were found, hours after they went missing, on the edge of the village, in Blake's Pit, a disused gravel pit off Webbs Lane, Beenham.

Burgess constantly denied any involvement in the murders and told police he had seen a man, who he named as McNab, bending over the body of a child at the gravel pit where he was poaching.

But he was convicted of both murders in July 1967.

While in Durham Prison he confessed to Yolande's murder to prison officers, though he gave a different account.

But when detectives quizzed him in jail and said they thought he was guilty he replied: "Oh do you? You will have to prove it."

Burgess escaped from an open prison near Bristol in September 1996.

He was recaptured after an armed bank robbery in Havant, Hampshire in February 1998.

While in prison he was also convicted of wounding with intent in 1978 and making false statements to receive benefits in 1995.

The jury sitting at Reading Crown Couryt heard how blood-stained articles found at the murder scene were re-examined by scientists is 2011.

Some items, including Yolande's sweater, had been lost. But DNA found on a polythene fertiliser sack, white hairband and a comb matched Burgess's profile.

During his trial Burgess refused to take the stand and give evidence in his defence.

Yolande Waddington's brother struggled to contain his emotion as he told of the traumatic and irreversible effect of his sister's murder.

Giles Waddington, who was just eight years of age at the time of his sister's killing, said: "We are grateful that justice has been completed and Yolande's murder has been identified after more than 45 years.

"Yolande's murder had a traumatic and irreversible effect on our family life and has cast a long shadow over nearly five decades. From the outset our trust of others was destroyed and as a consequence our family unit closed ranks; keeping the outside world at arms length.

"Our mother and father were deprived of experiencing the hopes and aspirations of their only daughter's life events such as her wedding, her children and the comfort she would have given them in their later years.

"The recent re-investigation and trial have re-awakened very painful and vivid memories of Yolande's horrific death which we had learned to live with over time."

Yolande's other brother and mother died before they could see justice done.

The family of Jeanette Wigmore, one of the two nine-year-old girls who Burgess murdered in 1967, said after the conviction: "Our thoughts are with the Waddington family and we know what they are feeling at this very stressful time.

"We hope they can find some peace in the knowledge that their daughter's killer has at last been brought to justice after such a long time. Not knowing all these years must have been terrible for them."

Peter Beirne, Thames Valley Police's principal investigator of cold cases, said: "David Burgess has never accepted his guilt despite confessing to the crime to prison officers on three separate occasions. He has never fully explained how or why he killed Yolande.

"I hope today's conviction will bring some comfort to the Waddington family after all these years. Although they have knowledge that the person who carried out this despicable crime has been brought to justice, they have still lost a much-loved daughter and sister."

Detectives are now to probe unsolved killings which took place over a year-and-a-half period when the 64-year-old was at large from Leyhill Prison, Wotton-under-Edge, Glos.

Mr Beirne said: "Obviously
between the period of 1966 to 1967 we are aware of where Burgess was because he remained in the village.

"His offending history isn't very long, because he was only 19 years of age at the time, and there are no other offences of murder undetected in and around that area.

"However, we will be looking at potential unsolved cases during the 18 months he absconded from prison.

"We will be looking specifically at unsolved murders.

"What he has said is that he spent the majority of that time in Hampshire."