Beds, Herts & Bucks

William Taylor: Wife 'said she could kill any of husband's family'

William Taylor Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption William Taylor's body was discovered eight months after he was reported missing

A wife accused of murdering her estranged husband claimed she could have "any of his family" killed, a jury has heard.

The body of farmer William Taylor, 69, was found in a river near Hitchin, Hertfordshire, in February, eight months after he was reported missing.

Angela Taylor, 53, and her partner Paul Cannon, 54, have denied murder.

Coach driver Richard Lush said Mrs Taylor told him she could arrange the killing of "any of the Taylor family".

Mr Lush, a friend of the farmer, said there had been a family row two and a half years before Mr Taylor, also known as Bill, disappeared from his home at Harkness Hall, Gosmore.

The dispute, in November 2015, resulted in Mr Taylor not speaking to his son from his first marriage, who is also called Richard.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Police officers searched a farm belonging to Mrs Taylor

The jury at St Albans Crown Court has been told that Mrs Taylor and Mr Taylor had agreed in August 2015 to a deed of separation which involved her acquiring, debt-free, two neighbouring farms and 200 acres of land.

Bill and Richard Taylor had taken out a loan of £1m to clear all the debts on Harkness Hall and Angela's two farms, but the relationship between father and son was strained.

Coach driver Mr Lush said Mrs Taylor told him in November 2015: "I can kill any of the Taylor family at any time."

Prosecutor John Price QC asked "Did she say how or by whom?"

He replied: "She said she would get someone in Yorkshire to sort it out."

During cross-examination by Mr Cannon's counsel, Michael Magarian QC, Mr Lush was asked about his feelings towards Mrs Taylor.

"I did not like her, no," he said.

Asked if his dislike had influenced his evidence, he said: "No."

Mrs Taylor, of Charlton Road, Charlton, near Hitchin, and Mr Cannon, of Pirton Road, Hitchin, and his work colleague Gwyn Griffiths, 60, of Lucy Avenue, Folkestone, deny murder on or about 4 June last year and an alternative lesser charge of conspiracy to murder between 12 February and 5 June.

Mrs Taylor and Mr Cannon also deny arson of the farmer's Land Rover between 25 May and 28 May last year.

The trial continues.

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