Melsonby Post Office to be sold at auction

Gazette & Herald: Police outside Melsonby post office where Diana Garbutt was killed by her husband Robin Garbutt Police outside Melsonby post office where Diana Garbutt was killed by her husband Robin Garbutt

A NORTH Yorkshire house which became the focus of a murder investigation is due to be sold at auction in York.

Postmistress Diana Garbutt was murdered at Melsonby Post Office near Richmond in 2010.

Her husband Robin Garbutt, formerly of Huby, was jailed for life after he was found guilty of bludgeoning his 40-year-old wife to death at the couple’s shop and post office.

Now the shop and three-bedroomed living accommodation above it going up for auction with a guide price of £130,000.

Hunters Estate Agents in York said the property was being auctioned at the instruction of family solicitors at York Racecourse on July 30 at 6pm.

County councillor Michael Heseltine, who has served Melsonby for 37 years, yesterday said it was a matter of great regret that the post office and shop were likely to become residential properties, but that the community needed to move on.

He said: “Post offices always do serve as a community hub, but unfortunately the tragic events in Melsonby forced the situation.

“There will be many people in Melsonby now who don’t even know there was a post office there.”

Cllr Heseltine said plans to create a community centre in the village, off Moor Road, had resurfaced and a meeting was due to be held over access to the site.

Landlady Sally Williamson of the Black Bull pub in Melsonby, who has taken on selling newspapers since the shop and post office closed in March 2010, said the village needed another community hub alongside her pub.

She said: “Melsonby is quite a large village with about 1,200 residents, but only a proportion of them come to the pub, I don’t know where the rest go.”

Garbutt - who had previously lived with his wife in York - attacked Diana with a metal bar in the living quarters of their village shop and post office on March 23, 2010. He then lied to police, claiming armed robbers had attacked his wife then stolen money from the safe.

He knew his wife Diana, who grew up in Selby and Eggborough, had been unfaithful and feared his theft of thousands of pounds from the post office they ran in Melsonby was about to be discovered.

He claimed a man with a gun had told him: "Don't do anything stupid - we've got your wife", but the jury at Teesside Crown Court in 2011 rejected his story.

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