Date: 13 Sep 1990
Andrew Pilch was found dead inside his home by his wife.
It was initially thought that his death was through natural causes, but his post-mortem revealed that he had been suffocated or strangled, or had received a blow or blows to his neck.
Three men, aged 21, 23 and 25 were tried for his murder in 1991, but acquitted. After the acquittal, the police said that they had no plans to charge anyone else and that they had closed their enquiry. The police said, 'The inquiry into the death of Andrew Pilch revealed evidence which has been tested before a jury. The persons charged were acquitted. It is not the police's intention to re-open the inquiry or to charge other persons at this time'.
Andrew Pilch was disabled having suffered from cerebral palsy and was an unemployed computer expert.
His 27-year-old wife, who was a nurse, admitted that she had been having a string of affairs and to having had a clandestine relationship with one of the men that was tried for Andrew Pilch's murder, a live-in handy-man, although at the time of his murder she said that she had broken off that relationship, although the handy-man denied that. She had started the relationship shortly after the handy-man had moved in whilst Andrew Pilch was away with the Territorial Army after they had got back from a nightclub together. It was said that after a while the handy-man became jealous of the other relationships that Andrew Pilch's wife was having and wanted her to stop.
At the trial it was heard that Andrew Pilch's wife had stood to gain £100,000 life insurance as the sole beneficiary on the policy which had been taken out just before they moved to Norfolk in 1989.
She admitted to laying a false trail for the police and was branded a 'proven liar' by the judge after it was heard that she had lied about how she had found Andrew Pilch when she had returned to the cottage and about her sexual relationships.
The judge said, 'Whatever Andrew Pilch's alleged failings, and we only have her word for it, she had repeatedly betrayed him as a wife, most recently with the handy-man. You can find that a witness is wholly feckless and utterly immoral, you can find that a witness is a proven liar, Andrew Pilch's wife obviously is'.
She had also said that she had seen the handy-man and his brother and friend at her house on the day of the murder. They had said that they had been in Hemsby. However, it was noted that she had only said that in the last of her four statements to the police.
The prosecution claimed that the live-in handy man, who had recently been dumped by Andrew Pilch's lover had murdered Andrew Pilch in a rage after he had heard him having sex with his wife. The other men were the handy-man's brother and their unemployed friend. However, the handyman said that Andrew Pilch's wife had not broken the relationship off and said that they had still been seeing each other up until the time of Andrew Pilch's murder.
The prosecution claimed that the handy-man 'wanted to get Mr Pilch out of the way because of a mixture of sexual jealousy and financial gain'. It was claimed that the handy-man had brought his brother into the plot to help him murder Andrew Pilch and to provide him with an alibi.
A Home Office pathologist said that despite Andrew Pilch having cerebral palsy, he was a big man and that it would have required two people to have held him down and strangled him. However, another doctor claimed that one person could have strangled Andrew Pilch with a cord, 'even a well-built woman'.
The first trial was halted after a witness statement went missing and the jury discharged.
At the second trial the three men denied the murder and their defence stated that Andrew Pilch's wife, who they described as a physically fit size 16, had a motive, that being the life insurance policy and the fact that she had a deep contempt for him.
It was noted that Andrew Pilch's wife was not later able to claim on her husband’s life insurance policy as it could be proved by them that the payment on it had lapsed.
Following the acquittals, Andrew Pilch's father spent over £400,000 on private investigators to try and track down Andrew Pilch's murderer.
Andrew Pilch had two children.
see Norfolk Police
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Friday 26 July 1991
see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 27 July 1991
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Friday 05 July 1991
see Newcastle Journal - Friday 26 July 1991
see Newcastle Journal - Friday 26 July 1991
see Unsolved East Anglia Murders, Jonathan Sutherland and Diane Canwell, ISBN 1845630440