A husband confessed to murdering his ex-wife shortly before taking his own life, an inquest heard.
Gerald Doherty confessed to strangling estranged mother-of-three Natalia Doherty after she went to meet him at a pub in Luton, Beds., in April 2003.
The 59-year-old took his own life in Scotland in July 2003 after suffering from mental health problems.
Mrs Doherty, 50, was last seen in Eastbourne, sparking a police search.
Following a cold case probe into disappearance, officers from the Beds, Herts and Cambs major crime unit dug up the back garden of a property in Luton, in December 2015, where skeletal remains were found.
An inquest on Tuesday heard that the remains, which showed signs of a traumatic head injury, were identified as those of Natalia Doherty.
DI Jerry Waite told the hearing at Ampthill Coroner’s Court, Beds., that Gerald Doherty took his own life.
He said: “The evidence suggests that when Mr Doherty went up to Scotland he made a confession that he had strangled Natalia and caused her death.
“He said he disposed of her body parts throughout Luton.”
Senior Coroner Tom Osborne confirmed Mrs Doherty died as a result of traumatic head injuries and ruled the cause of her death had been unlawful killing.
Two elderly brothers have already appeared at Luton Crown Court facing allegations they hid her body and are expected to stand trial in December.
Joseph Doherty, 72, and his younger brother Daniel, 67, are both charged that together with Ms Doherty’s ex-husband Gerald Doherty, now deceased, they obstructed the Coroner for Bedfordshire in the execution of his duty by knowingly concealing the body of Natalia in the back garden of Daniel’s house.
Joseph Doherty, from Port Glasgow, Inverclyde in Scotland, was charged that, with Gerald Doherty, he had prevented the lawful and decent burial of a dead body.
Both have been granted bail.