Beds, Herts & Bucks

William Taylor trial: Murder accused 'at wedding' on night of killing

William Taylor Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption William Taylor was reported missing on 4 June 2018

A mechanic accused of murdering a millionaire farmer was at a wedding at the time of the killing, a court 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.

Gwyn Griffiths, 60, is accused of murder alongside Mr Taylor's estranged wife Angela Taylor, 53, and her lover Paul Cannon, 54. They deny the charge.

He said he was "100 per cent" sure he had not left the wedding in June 2018.

Giving evidence at St Albans Crown Court, Mr Griffiths, of Folkestone, Kent, was asked directly by his barrister Brian St Louis QC: "Did you murder Bill Taylor?"

He replied "No" and said he had never been part of any agreement to murder the farmer.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption William Taylor was reported missing by his lodger

When asked where he was between 3 and 4 June 2018, which the prosecution claim is when Mr Taylor was murdered, Mr Griffiths said he had been at his partner's son's wedding 14 miles away in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Mr St Louis asked him: "Are you sure you never left that night?"

Mr Griffiths said: "100 per cent."

He said he would not have been capable of driving anywhere because he had been drinking and celebrating the wedding.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption After his disappearance, police officers searched a farm belonging to his estranged wife Angela Taylor

He said he had met Mr Taylor several times, having worked on a wood burner on his farm, and he "seemed like a very fair man".

Mr Griffiths said Mr Cannon had asked him how much it "would cost to get rid of someone", but had not taken him seriously.

While visiting his mother in south Wales, Mr Griffiths asked people in a pub and figures ranging from £500 to £50,000 were suggested.

Mr St Louis said: "You know it's suggested you went out there to get a price for killing Bill Taylor. What would you say to that?"

Mr Griffiths said: " No."

Mr Griffiths, Mr Cannon, of Pirton Road, Hitchin, and Mrs Taylor, of Charlton Road, Charlton, all deny murder and conspiracy to murder. The two men also deny arson of the farmer's Land Rover.

The trial continues.

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