Welsh murder case with Kiwi connection takes twist

John and Ann Sabine (Supplied)
John and Ann Sabine (Supplied)

The son of a Kiwi woman who is the prime suspect in a cold case murder of her husband in Wales has told of how she abandoned the family almost 50 years ago.

Police believe Ann Sabine, who lived in Beddau near Pontypridd, killed her husband John around 1997.

They found his body wrapped in plastic sheeting and buried in their backyard just months after Sabine died of cancer in October.

If that wasn't weird enough, the story has taken another turn, with the estranged son of Sabine, who lives in Taranaki, saying his "evil" mother abandoning their five children in New Zealand.

Steve Sabine was around six years old when his mother left the country to pursue a career as a cabaret singer in Australia.

"They dropped us off somewhere and never came back to pick us up," he told Wales Online.

"They said they were going to come back the next weekend."

He recalled them taking him to a budget hotel in Auckland, saying they'd come back.

"But they never did."

Mr Sabine didn't see his mother again until 17 years later in an attempted reunion in 1985.

He, his brother and three sisters never heard from her again until they were contacted by police about the grisly discovery.

Police believe Sabine took her secret to the grave, having died of cancer aged 74. Her husband would have been 85.

The couple had moved from South Wales to Australia with their four children in the 1960s and then across the Tasman, and had another child in New Zealand.

"My mother was a cabaret performer and they said they went back to Australia for that. But he got arrested and she stayed out there with him and things just escalated from there."

As a man in his early 20s, he welcomed them back in the 1980s because "all we wanted was to have a mother and father".

"Things got really messy. People would ask about my parents and I would say they were dead."

While it may have seemed like the Sabines didn't returned to New Zealand until the 1980s, New Zealand Kennel Club records placed them in Wellington in 1972.

They were allegedly living under the names John and Lee Martin who imported English Springer Spaniels.

He recalled his father as a "good man, a soft-hearted man" who was in love with a "conniving bitch" who controlled him.

He said of the alleged murder that "if anyone was going to do it, she was going to do it".

Mr Sabine said while he could have accepted his father's death, the accusation his mother was responsible was a plot twist you'd only find in the movies.

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