Fred Boyle woke up and his wife had vanished, leaving nothing but a note.

He unfolded it and in little writing it said she was having an affair and had run away with a truck driver named Ray.

It was 1983 and Mr Boyle appeared devastated, but he held a sinister secret for two decades.

After she vanished, speculation swirled around her whereabouts. Was she dead or alive? How could she leave her two children?

Advertisement

She was just 30-years-old and people sympathised with Mr Boyle as they believed his wife left him to raise their two children while she was off with another man.

But Mr Boyle himself was having an affair and his mistress moved into the family home just two days after his wife disappeared.

Edwina Boyle before she disappeared. Photo / News Corp
Edwina Boyle before she disappeared. Photo / News Corp

Ms Boyle hadn't disappeared at all - she was right there the whole time. Her body had been packed into a metal drum and placed out in the open in the backyard of the family home in Carrum Downs in Melbourne's southeast.

When the family had events at their home, partygoers would mingle around it and Mrs Boyle's two daughters lived metres from it. This month marks ten year's since the awful truth was revealed.

It wasn't until Mr Boyle's future son-in-law moved to the family home when Mr Boyle's sick secret began to unravel.

Michael Hegarty was dating Mr Boyle's daughter and he noticed the barrel in the backyard and began joking about Ms Boyle being stashed inside.

It was a joke he began to take seriously when Mr Boyle became anxious about people touching and moving the barrel.

The barrel had been with Mr Boyle for two decades and he took it with him every time he moved house.

In August 2006 Hegarty cut open the barrel out of curiosity and found women's clothing and a hessian bag inside, a court later heard. He had been told there was glue stored in the drum.

Two months later he made another grim discovery while cleaning the backyard - the hessian bag was moved into a wheelie bin.

Hegarty opened it and found human bones, including a skull.

Mr Boyle was charged for murdering his wife of 11 years. The court heard she had been shot in the head.

About 10 years after Ms Boyle went missing, police suspected she had met with foul play despite Mr Boyle's story about her affair.

She had taken nothing with her when she supposedly left the house, her clothes were still hanging in the wardrobe and her car parked in front of the home.

A jury found Mr Boyle guilty in 2008 and he was sentenced to 21 years in jail, and will serve a non-parole period of 17 years.

During his trial Mr Boyle claimed he found his wife dead in their bed and panicked. He fabricated the note she apparently left, according to reports of the trial by AAP,.

He said he bought the barrel and put her body inside with cement to stop the pungent smell.

However, he later admitted he strangled and shot in the head and "my wife died in a terrible way and I was not going to let her remains be thrown down the tip like garbage".

In evidence, Mr Boyle's eldest daughter Careesa said her parents were fighting before the disappearance, mostly about the woman Mr Boyle was having an affair with.

"I would lay awake at night hearing them fight," the daughter said during Mr Boyle's trial.

"She (Edwina) would say 'you have been with her again?'

"I did not know what an affair was then."

Mr Boyle was branded a "pathological liar" by the prosecution at his trial.

Ms Boyle's sister Valerie Bordley travelled from Wales to attend the court case and said she couldn't get her sister's disappearance out of her head and admitted she had even seen psychics to find out what happened to Ms Boyle.

- With AAP