Lee Ann Sabine, 74, from near near Pontypridd, hid the body of her husband John under her bed – she reportedly told a friend that she struck him over the head with a frog ornament

Photographer Juliet Eden had no idea an elderly lady, who she snapped for candid at-home pictures, was hiding the decomposing body of her husband under her bed.

Lee Ann Sabine, 74, died from cancer in 2015 just weeks before her grim secret was uncovered. The decayed and partially-preserved skeleton of John Sabine, last seen in 1997, was found wrapped in sheets of plastic in the communal garden of her flat near Pontypridd, Wales, which Sabine spent hours transforming.

His body was discovered dressed in St Michael-branded pyjamas and had been wrapped with layers of shopping bags, bin bags and bits of foil. A post-mortem examination found John suffered a number of skull fractures which were consistent with an assault. These were likely his cause of death.

South Wales Police named Sabine as the prime suspect in the murder, WalesOnline reported. She reportedly confessed to a friend that she hit John over the head with a stone frog ornament which was found in her flat after her death.

Around a year before her death Juliet visited the secret killer, photographing her for a “Hollywood makeover” at a local salon. She found the murderer extremely eccentric but likeable with Lee recounting her fame in Australia and New Zealand as a cabaret singer and reading Juliet’s tarot cards. During the reading Lee predicted that she herself would become famous and Juliet would write a book about her, which would be made into a movie.

Juliet, from Barry, about 10 miles southwest of Cardiff, recounted the meeting in her book, adding: “I went round to the flat and I got photographs inside her bedroom where you have got that raised bed. Unbeknownst to me there was a body in there. I also got photographs of the rug that the body was later wrapped up in and put in a wheelie bin.”

About a year after the meeting, Juliet received a call from a friend who told her Sabine was dead and that a body had been found at the flat. She realised that John had been hidden underneath the bed she had photographed.

Juliet added: “I am convinced Lee wanted nice photographs for when the story all came out. She couldn’t hide the murder after she was dead. I think that’s why this all came about. She controlled the whole situation all the way through. Lee had a high IQ, was engaging, and funny.”

During the meeting, Juliet and her assistant filmed Sabine with the view of making her the subject of a reality TV programme. Due to her controversial comments, and erratic behaviour, the decision was ultimately made to delete the footage. But Juliet’s photos were sought around the world after Sabine’s murder came to light.

After securing a new documentary deal with Raw TV, Juliet decided to write a book about the meeting which was published this year. It includes the author’s photographs of Lee, which appear even more eerie with the knowledge of Lee’s past. Perhaps the most disturbing image is of Lee posing in the mirror as the bed containing John’s body stands prominently in the foreground.

Juliet was also in possession of Lee’s memoirs which were given to the police after John’s body was discovered but given back to her after the investigation had concluded. It provided background on Lee’s life including her childhood at an orphanage in Llantwit Fardre and the abandonment of her children in New Zealand.

Juliet said about her decision to write the book: “This keeps coming back up for me and resurfacing, I keep reselling the photographs, and I always felt like I needed to write a book. I definitely had a story to tell.”

Frog Murderer: Lee Ann Sabine Shocked The World Twice can be purchased from Juliet’s website www.julieteden.co.uk, Waterstones, The Cowbridge Book Shop, The Well-Being Shop in Barry, Craft Cwtch in Bridgend or Hair By Infinity in Llantwit Fardre. It is also available on Kindle.

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