A MAN charged with the murder of his pregnant wife twenty years after she disappeared has been bailed after an appearance at court.

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.

Yesterday, Griggs, 56, appeared at Maidstone Crown Court via prison video link from HMP Elmley to make a bail application.

After hearing arguments from the prosecution, as well as a barrister acting on the defendant’s behalf, a judge gave Griggs conditional bail. The defendant must appear back before the court on April 9 for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

A provisional trial date has been set for September 2.

Griggs has not yet entered a plea to the charge.

The defendant was charged just two months after Mrs Griggs’ mum Pat died without ever finding out what had happened to her daughter.

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

Griggs was arrested on Tuesday morning after a warrant was executed at his home.

Earlier this week, 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.”

Detective Superintendent Paul Fotheringham, head of major crime at Kent Police, said: “Despite extensive searches and appeals for information detectives were unable to locate Debbie.”

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