Leigh Ann Sabine (left) and her husband John, whose remains were found after she died. Photograph: South Wales police
18 years after his disappearance, John Sabine’s body is found behind his flat in Beddau, South Wales, UK. He was beaten to death by his wife with a n ornamental stone frog, she wrapped his body in more than 40 layers of plastic, roofing felt and shopping bags before hiding it at her flat. His body was found after her death.
Sabine had claimed she had killed her husband and hinted to friends that the skeleton in the backyard could have been real, but her friends thought she was joking. She continued to claim his pension and put it into their joint account. 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.
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, UK.
The ornamental stone frog used as a weapon to kill John Sabine in Beddau in 1997
“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.”
A postmortem carried out by forensic pathologist Dr Richard Jones found the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. He said the heavy stone frog – which the couple had kept by their bed – had a protruding eye and hind leg that lined up with the fractures.
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.”
“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.”
The coroner said there was no recorded history of domestic violence or signs that Sabine acted in self defence.
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.”