Virginia McCullough admits murdering parents in Chelmsford, Essex

A 36-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to murdering her parents.

Virginia McCullough confessed to police she poisoned her father John, 70, with prescription medication and then stabbed her mother Lois, 71, in the chest shortly afterwards.

She killed the pair sometime in June 2019 at their home in Chelmsford, Essex.

However, their violent deaths were not revealed until more than four years later.

A court heard McCullough concealed her parent's bodies at the property and continued to live there in the years that followed.

To cover her tracks, she lied to relatives and doctors, telling them her mother and father were unwell, on holiday or away on lengthy trips.

It was not until September 2023 that police launched an investigation after the couple's GPs raised concerns about missed appointments.

Officers then paid a visit to the property due to "concerns for the welfare" of Mr and Mrs McCullough.

Police said "in the moments afterwards" McCullough confessed to her crimes and officers discovered the remains of her parents.

Detective Inspector Lydia George said it had been a "hugely complex investigation".

She said: "Officers were met with an incredibly challenging scene and worked at the address over the course of several days to carry out forensic enquiries...

"Virginia's actions have had a significant and emotional impact on the family group and our thoughts today are first and foremost with them.

"We have worked very closely with them and supported them from the outset as we established the circumstances around John and Lois's deaths and gathered the evidence which has led to today's guilty pleas."

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Locals in the area told reporters last year McCullough was a "quite chatty" person who was also a "little bit odd".

A worker at a nearby shop, who asked not to be named, said she had told him her parents had moved to be by the seaside and he had not seen them since before the COVID pandemic.

He added Virginia would speak to workers in the local shops and buy them small items.

"If anything she was just like a pest. She would be talking about the problems she had in the street," he said.

He said she was a "little bit odd sometimes", adding: "She would come in and go 'do you want a coffee' then five minutes later there would be a coffee sitting there."

Neighbour Phil Sargent said McCullough was "quite chatty" and "would always come and descend on you".

He added: "It would be a fair comment to say she was slightly irrational with her thinking. She didn't appear to be a threat of any kind."

Appearing via video link from prison, McCullough admitted two counts of murder at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday.

She will be sentenced at the same court on 10 October.

Judge Christopher Morgan told her: "You will understand that there is a single sentence that can be passed upon you in these circumstances.

"Consideration, however, has to be given to the minimum term."