Murder case cops find bones in Doncaster wood

Thomas Groome
Thomas Groome

A Doncaster wood was sealed off as part of the hunt for the remains of a murder victim whose body has never been found.

Sandall Beat Wood in Intake was cordoned off yesterday while the area was searched as part of ongoing efforts to find the body of 53-year-old Thomas Groome, who was last seen on New Year’s Day 2010 in Thorne.

His partner June Buttle and her son have been jailed over his death, despite his remains never being found.

South Yorkshire Police said some bones were found yesterday, but they turned out to be animal remains.

Buttle was sentenced to 16-years behind bars in March 2015 after pleading guilty to manslaughter, conspiracy to prevent a burial and fraud against Mr Groome's estate.

She claimed a man previously unknown to her, helped her kill Groome and said she then wrapped his body in a carpet before the stranger chopped him into pieces, burnt him at the bottom of her garden and told her he would dispose of the remnants of Mr Groome’s body in Armthorpe woods.

Her son, Jason Thaxter, 39, was sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years, after being found guilty of murder and conspiracy to prevent a burial.

The case against the pair was that they killed for financial gain after Mr Groome was awarded a 150,000 Euro compensation pay-out after he was he abused in an Irish care home.

Buttle and Thaxter pretended that Mr Groome had gone to Portugal to begin a new life.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "Police carried out a search of Sandal Beat Woods in Doncaster yesterday in connection with an ongoing investigation into the murder of Thomas Groome.

"A cordon was established while the site was searched. Bone material was present at the site and this has now been confirmed to be animal bones.

"There was no risk to the community and the cordon was lifted yesterday evening."

The investigation into the murder has cost South Yorkshire Police in excess of £2 million.