A MAN accused of murdering his pregnant wife 20 years ago has been allowed to return home backed his bail with a £70,000 surety.

Andrew Griggs, of Ringwood Road in St Leonards, is accused of killing Debbie Griggs. Mrs Griggs, a mum-of-three, was 34 when she disappeared from her home in Deal, Kent on the evening of Wednesday, May 5 1999. She has never been found.

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

Griggs, 56, did not enter a plea when he appeared Old Bailey this week. An application to have the case dismissed is expected in May.

The defendant was granted bail after paying a £70,000 surety, which happens when another person – in this case Griggs' second wife – takes responsibility him appearing in court. Griggs is required to live at his home address.

If the application to dismiss fails, it is understood Griggs will plead not guilty and a trial will take place.

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