A 60-year-old man found guilty of murdering a Hexham woman will be sentenced on Friday.
Donald Graham, formerly of Seaton Deleval, was found guilty of the murder of Janet Brown at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday June 18.
Miss Brown has not been seen since 2005 when she was living in Hexham and in 2009 police launched a large scale investigation to trace her with a dedicated team of detectives working on the enquiry.
Despite her body never being found, police uncovered information that led them to believe she had been murdered.
In September 2013, 60-year-old Donald Graham was charged with her murder.
Northumbria Police Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Musgrove said: “I’m pleased with today’s verdict and that justice has finally been done for Janet and her family.
“Her family have shown great dignity throughout the enquiry and I hope they can find some solace that the man responsible for her murder has been found culpable. “Graham is a controlling and manipulative man, particularly towards women, a bully who deliberately instils fear into people and uses intimidating behaviour to get his own way.
“He is a callous man who made it look like Janet was alive when in fact he had, motivated by financial greed, murdered her.
“Despite living a seemingly modest lifestyle, Janet Brown had considerable assets – Graham fraudulently accessed these and her parents’ money and squandered everything on a lavish lifestyle for himself.
“This has been a long running complex investigation with many challenges; not least that Graham has never indicated where Janet’s body is.
“The investigation has seen wide-ranging enquiries. Our first step was to establish whether or not Janet was alive and this led to us carrying out enquiries both in this country and abroad.
“Once it was established there was no proof of Janet being alive our searches focused on finding a body which saw a vast amount of land searched.
“Due to the nature of the land, the month long search was assisted by forensic archaeologists and geologists.
“Our enquiries saw us work with other agencies, including the national crime agency.
“The final piece in Janet’s murder would be for Graham to admit what happened to her and give her family the opportunity to grieve.
“We have worked very closely with the CPS throughout the investigation and I’d like to thank them for their support.”
A statement from Miss Brown’s family read: “We would like to say that we are pleased with the verdict.
“The last four years have been very difficult for us, dealing with the aftermath of these events.
“We are very grateful for the professionalism of Northumbria Police and for their extraordinarily thorough and detailed investigation of events over this period. “Our sincere thanks go to the investigation team, and in particular, we would like to thank our Police Liaison Officers for all their help and support that they have given us during the investigation.
“We are also very grateful to the Crown Prosecution Service for bringing the evidence in this case before a jury.”