Leigh Ann Sabine died aged 74, killed her husband, hid his body in a shed,was never caught until she died of cancer.
John Sabine, an accountant, 67 when he disappeared, was apparently killed with a stone frog
She continued collecting his pension for 18 years, operating their joint account, their children couldn’t contact him
His body was wrapped in tin foil and plastic, stored in shed as ‘medical skeleton’
A woman who battered her husband to death with a stone frog and wrapped his body in more than 40 layers of plastic, roofing felt and shopping bags before hiding it at her flat was only found out 18 years later, after she died herself.
Leigh Ann Sabine (left) killed her husband John and continued collecting his pension for 18 years. His skeleton was found after she died.
Leigh Ann Sabine, who also concealed the mummified remains of her husband, John, in a communal shed, died aged 74 last October after fighting cancer. His body, still wearing his Marks & Spencer pyjamas, was found when one of Sabine’s friends opened the wrapping, which she had been told contained a medical skeleton.
Over the years, Sabine had claimed she had killed her husband and hinted that the skeleton could have been real, but her friends thought she was joking. She continued to claim his pension and put it into their joint account.
John Sabine, an accountant, was 67 when he was last seen alive in 1997 at the couple’s home in the village of Beddau, near Pontypridd in south Wales.
DCI Gareth Morgan told an inquest in Aberdare that DNA analysis confirmed the body was his. Morgan said: “It is my view that Leigh Sabine probably killed John Sabine and wrapped up his body. There was no evidence to suggest anyone else knew of his death.”
Inquest hears Leigh Ann Sabine killed husband with a stone frog and wrapped his body in layers of foil and old bag
A postmortem by forensic pathologist Dr Richard Jones established the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head [with} the heavy stone frog. The frog which the couple had kept by their bed, had a protruding eye and hind leg that lined up with the fractures.
Jones said the way the body had been wrapped meant it was well preserved through “chemical mummification”. It was so well preserved that tests showed Mr Sabine had drunk alcohol before his death but would have been below the drink-drive limit.
The inquest was told the couple emigrated to New Zealand in the 60s before returning to Britain in the 80s, leaving their five children behind. They had signed a joint tenancy for the flat a few weeks before Mr Sabine’s last sighting but his name was removed a year later.
A few months before she died, Leigh Sabine told a hairdresser: “People are going to talk about me after I have gone. I could be famous.” When the hairdresser asked why, she replied: “Because of the body in the bag.”
Sabine used to tell her neighbour, Michelle James, that she had a medical skeleton she had bought while training to be a nurse. The pair joked about it and when James suggested it could be real, Sabine replied: “You never know.” James said: “She kept on about it a lot.”
Shortly before her death, Sabine asked James to help move it from the garden shed to the attic. After she died, James opened the packaging, intending to use what she thought was a medical skeleton for a practical joke but contacted the police when she realised they were real remains.Andrew Barkley
The body was found 25 days after Leigh Sabine died. Witnesses told the inquest that when she spoke of her husband she claimed he was abusive and a womaniser and had left home. Mary West, a street pastor and executor of Mrs Sabine’s will, said she “span a myth about her life”. West said: “She had stories of winning a modelling contract in Australia, a glamorous singing career and tales of her husband’s affairs.”
The coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing. He said: “These were terrible circumstances. Precisely what happened will never truly be known but it is without doubt that foul play was the cause of death and consistent with being caused by the stone frog.”
After the hearing, Christopher, John Sabine’s son from an earlier marriage, said: “She was an evil woman. She knew what she was doing. She told a pack of lies all her life.
“When I was told they had found my father’s body I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen him for 27 years and we didn’t know if he was dead or alive. I tried to contact him many time but he never replied. Now we know why.”
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