A MAN has been charged with the murder of his pregnant wife – 20 years after she disappeared.

Andrew Griggs, of Ringwood Road in St Leonards, is accused of killing Debbie Griggs. Mrs Griggs was 34 when she disappeared from her home in Deal, Kent on the evening of Wednesday, May 5 1999.

The couple had three children and Mrs Griggs was four months pregnant with their fourth.

Her cousin Jim Dunne and his wife Tracey, who live in Hamworthy, launched a Facebook campaign calling for anyone with information to come forward.

Mrs Griggs’ mum Pat died just two months ago without ever finding out what had happened to her daughter.

Griggs, 56, appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court today.

Senior crown prosecutor Nigel Pilkington said: “In December 2018, the Crown Prosecution Service received a file of evidence from Kent Police relating to an allegation of murder against Andrew Griggs.

“Following a review of the evidence, we have authorised Kent Police to charge Mr Griggs with the murder of his wife, Debbie Griggs, in 1999.

“The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Andrew Griggs are now active and that he has a right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

Detective Superintendent Paul Fotheringham, head of major crime at Kent Police, said: “With authorisation from the Crown Prosecution Service, Andrew Griggs is charged with the murder of Debbie Griggs.

“Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate executed a warrant on Tuesday morning to bring Griggs before Medway Magistrates’ Court.

“Debbie Griggs was 34 years old when she went missing from her home in Walmer, Deal, late on the evening of May 5 1999.

‘Despite extensive searches and appeals for information detectives were unable to locate Debbie, who was a devoted mother of three young children and expecting her fourth child.’

The case file, which has 378 statements and 3,000 documents and other exhibits, has been regularly reviewed by police officers.