A BUILDER whose body was found buried in his back garden has been pictured – as his primary school teacher partner appeared in court for murder today.
Fiona Beal, 48, is alleged to have murdered her long-term partner Nick Billingham between October 30 and November 10 last year.
The body was found in the garden of their house in Northampton on Saturday after four days of digging – and almost five months after the alleged murder.
Beal was arrested 200 miles away at a hotel in Cumbria on Wednesday.
Police were initially called to the house in Moore Street, where they began a search of the entire property.
Forensic officers and specialist search teams, including a cadaver dog, were deployed and a body was found buried in the rear garden.
Dad-of-three Ian Young told how he was “absolutely freaked out” after finding out his neighbour was a murder suspect and a body had been buried in her back yard.
Speaking to The Sun Online tonight he said: “I can’t believe this has happened. It’s absolutely freaked me out and I’m now going to move. It’s shocking and very scary.
“I’ve got children aged 15, nine and 14 months and the older one is aware of what’s happened.”
Beal spoke today only to give her name, age and address – the house in Moore Street where the body was found.
She was remanded into custody to appear at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday.
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Parents of pupils taught by Beal at Eastfield Academy in Northampton today told of their shock at her arrest on social media.
One wrote: “This is terrible. My daughter’s teacher.”
While another said: “So sad and shocking news. She was my son’s teacher.”
After the primary school teacher appeared in court, a spokeswoman for the school said: “We were shocked and saddened to hear that one of our teaching staff has been charged with a very serious offence and is now remanded in custody.
“We are particularly mindful of the impact this news will have on the children, and will be doing everything we can to support both pupils and staff as we work through this difficult time together.
“This is an appalling tragedy that will shake our school community to its roots and it’s at times like this that we must rally around each other, support each other, and be kind to each other.”
DCI Adam Pendlebury, from the major crime team of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, yesterday said: “Regrettably, I can confirm that a body has been found in the rear garden of the address.
“We believe it to be that of a missing 42-year-old male, but formal identification has yet to take place.
“Police officers have been conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area over the past couple of days.
“This remains a complex and challenging investigation and we are appealing for anyone with any information to contact Northamptonshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 26 of March 16, 2022.”