They were shot dead by their own daughter, Susan Edwards, who Olivia Colman stars in the new Sky drama, Landscapers, which begins Tuesday, December 7.
Edwards, with the help of her husband Christopher, murdered her parents in order to loot their bank accounts, splurging by the thousands on celebrity autographs and other Hollywood memorabilia.
The couple managed to get away with their 15-year crime, committed in Forest Town, Notts., By forging letters and documents to make it look like the Wycherleys were still alive.
But eventually their elaborate network of lies unraveled and they surrendered to the cops in Lille after fleeing to France.
Today, Oscar-winning actor Colman, 47, stars in a four-part Sky series written by her husband, Ed Sinclair, about the murders.
Colman revealed to Sky News that Ed has discovered a new side of the villainous couple.
She said, “I felt sympathetic to them from the start because of what Ed found out.
“He spoke to his lawyer who said she was very shy, gentle, cultured, [a] beautiful woman.
“And you’re like, ‘Okay, isn’t that what everyone told us ?!’ “
Colman added: “We find out, through the program, that she was abused by her father when she was little, and I think it’s her escape to somehow imagine things. men [can be] heroic and finally meets her knight in shining armor. “
His co-star, Harry Potter actor David Thewlis, added that the truth is stranger than fiction.
He said, “I was amazed when I Google searched the real story to find out how completely true it is and indeed the truth bits are the weirder bits. “
Here we find out the real, shocking story behind the drama series – which landed the Edwards in prison for life.
Thrown in a shallow grave
Christopher shot Patricia and William Wycherley twice with a WWII revolver in the bedroom at the back of the victims’ semi-detached house.
The couple’s dark plot to get away with a murder began with a bang on the May 1998 bank holiday weekend.
Neighbors would later testify that they had seen Christopher “waist deep” digging in the garden that day – he was digging their graves.
Under cover of darkness, he and Susan wrapped the bodies of the retirees in a quilt and carried them downstairs and into the garden where they buried the couple.
After the Wycherleys left, the Edwards began to cover up their crime in cold blood with a deception that would last for 15 years.
They traveled regularly from their own house in Dagenham, east London, to the house near Mansfield to tend the garden.
Christopher was posing as the Wycherleys’ nephew, and the killers told neighbors and relatives that their victims had moved to various places, including Ireland for the ‘fresh air’.
They also wrote letters and cards masquerading as the Wycherleys to keep the ruse going.
A 2005 letter purportedly from Patricia refusing a chest clinic appointment said that she “was feeling better” and was staying with relatives.
And in a 2011 Christmas card sent to relatives about her parents’ trips to Ireland, Susan said it was “good to see them with such enthusiasm”.
Of course, they had already been dead and buried for 13 years.
Killed for money
Investigators would later argue that the Edwards were motivated to commit their crime by two things: money and revenge.
The Wycherleys are believed to have kept an inheritance from Susan’s mother-in-law that was intended for Susan, and the murders were part of a dark plot to recover the money.
On the first working day after the murders, Susan slipped £ 40,000 into her parents’ accounts.
Eventually, the couple would end up stealing some £ 286,285 from their victims.
They did this by hijacking the Wycherleys’ pensions and benefits for themselves, and they even applied for loans and credit cards on behalf of the deceased couple.
And the Edwards pocketed £ 66,000 from the sale of the Mansfield house where the Wycherleys were secretly buried.
Despite the seizure of money, they still ended up owing £ 160,000 to creditors upon their arrest thanks to thousands of follies on strange objects – including signed photos of the 1950s movie star, Gary Cooper.
“They weren’t leading a particularly lavish lifestyle,” Det Ch Insp Rob Griffin of the East Midlands Major Crime Unit told the BBC.
“It seems that the vast majority of their money has been spent on souvenirs, authenticated objects dedicated to people they admired.
“It’s amazing to think that’s what they spent their money on, but that’s what they did. “
Eventually the money ran out – and their lies fell apart as they asked another relative for money.
As Mr Wycherley’s 100th birthday approached, the Department for Work and Pensions wrote to him requesting a face-to-face interview.
Susan and Christopher found the letter and panicked, fleeing London for Lille in northern France.
There they quickly ran out of money, and Christopher called his own elderly mother-in-law to ask for money, telling a crazy story about why they had run away.
He said Ms Wycherley shot her own husband and then Susan shot Ms Wycherley after being provoked.
Instead of accepting it, Christopher’s mother-in-law called the police, who in turn found the bodies buried in the garden.
A month after the murder investigation began in 2013, the Det Ch Insp received a surprisingly important email – it was from Christopher.
“Later today, we will surrender to the British border forces authorities at the Eurostar terminal at Lille Europe station,” one read.
“We would rather do that… because my wife is already scared enough. Please could you inform the British Border Force in Lille Europe so that they can wait for us. “
They were arrested and, in a return trial in Britain, admitted to obstructing a coroner in the line of duty and pleaded guilty to theft of a credit balance in a bank account.
But they stuck to their story about the murders, denying they murdered the Wycherleys.
They were convicted in 2014, with the judge calling Susan “an accomplished and fanciful liar.”
The Edwards were sentenced to life with a minimum of 25 years each.
Speaking of the Sky Original drama, Thewlis said, “This is without a doubt the most beautiful project I have worked on for many years.
“Everything at Landscapers is magic, there is nothing like it. “
Landscapers will premiere on Sky Atlantic and Now TV on Tuesday, December 7 at 9 p.m. ET.