Geoffrey Adams, 71, indicated in April last year that he would plead guilty to the manslaughter of his wife Colleen Adams, who went missing in November 1973.
Geoffrey Adams, 71, indicated in April last year that he would plead guilty to the manslaughter of his wife Colleen Adams, who went missing in November 1973.

Man pleads not guilty to murdering Colleen Adams in 1973

A husband accused of killing his wife and burying her under a concrete slab has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The Director of Public Prosecutions refused to accept Geoffrey Adams' plea of guilty to manslaughter.

Now the cold case, which is nearly 50 years old, will be heard in the Supreme Court.

Adams, 71, indicated in April last year that he would plead guilty to the manslaughter of his wife Colleen Adams, who went missing in November 1973.

Prosecutors did not accept the plea, saying in court that Adams admitted "the crime he has been charged with" during 11 hours of interviews after being arrested.

Sarah Attar from the Department of Public Prosecutions said she needed an adjournment of several months because of the complexity of the evidence they intended to present during trial.

Mrs Adams' body was located in a one-metre-deep grave covered by a concrete slab in September 2018.

On that day, Mr Adams accompanied police to the house he once shared with Mrs Adams at Maitland and showed police a concrete slab, where her body was later found.

Colleen Adams with her husband Geoffrey and one of their children. Her body was found under a concrete slab at their former home in Maitland in 2018.
Colleen Adams with her husband Geoffrey and one of their children. Her body was found under a concrete slab at their former home in Maitland in 2018.

Adams told police in 1973 that his wife had told him their marriage was over and walked out of the house with two packed suitcases just after 7am on November 22.

He claimed she got into a car driven by another woman and drove away, never to be seen again.

She was reported missing by her mother a month later and the disappearance was declared a major crime in 1979.

In September 2018 Major Crime detectives told the Sunday Mail that there were numerous indicators that Mrs Adams had not intended to leave the family home.

Most tellingly were her two young daughters who, according to Mrs Adams' family, she would never have abandoned.

In numerous letters to her sister Mrs Adams lovingly documented the growth of the two girls including crawling, buying them nappies and watching their first teeth grow.

After the discovery of Mrs Adam's body, her youngest daughter Kaye visited the site and delivered a statement to the media through victim contact officer.

"Today I have finally found my mother," the statement said. "After 45 years of hoping, we have found her.

"It's hard to say in a few words what I am feeling, but I am so grateful to the South Australian police and everyone who has worked to help find her."

Mrs Adams' sister, Heather Johncock, attended the brief court hearing accompanied by victim liaison officers and major crime detectives.