Essex

Jordan Taylor jailed for 'sick' murder of Laura Davies

Laura Davies Image copyright Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society
Image caption Laura Davies lived and worked at the Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society

A man who murdered his girlfriend by stabbing her 80 times in a "jealous rage" has been jailed for life.

Laura Davies, 21, was attacked near the Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society base in Basildon, where she lived and worked.

Judge Charles Gratwicke described it as "a brutal and sick, callous killing".

Jordan Taylor, 22, of Basildon, must serve a minimum of 23 years in jail for murdering Miss Davies just moments after she had ended their relationship.

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Image caption Jordan Taylor had told the court "things started to become foggy" after he stabbed Miss Davies twice in the stomach

Taylor had denied murder but was found guilty by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday.

Sentencing him to life in prison, Judge Gratwicke told Taylor: "The jury saw through your lies, and saw you for what you are - a devious, jealous and ruthless individual prepared to unleash extreme violence on anyone who crosses your path.

"This was a brutal and sick, callous killing."

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The attack was so forceful that the knife used by Taylor was bent to a 45-degree angle

During the eight-day trial the court heard Taylor and Miss Davies had been together since December 2014. He had moved into the flat which came with her job as a groom at the sanctuary.

Miss Davies had told friends she planned to end the relationship on the evening of 3 July last year - the night she was murdered.

'Vicious and sustained attack'

The kitchen knife Taylor turned on Miss Davies had been used with such force it was bent to a 45-degree angle.

The court heard Taylor claimed he stabbed her twice in self-defence after she attacked him. Things went "foggy" after that, he said.

He said he could not remember most of the attack and denied murdering Miss Davies.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Laura Davies' family said she had "a passion for animals"

However, the Crown Prosecution Service described it as a "vicious and sustained attack" carried out by Taylor while he was in a "jealous rage" after Miss Davies ended the relationship.

Prosecutors said the attack on Miss Davies began in the flat in Pitsea Hall Lane, then continued outside as she fled in her pyjamas.

Taylor had denied initially making "disfiguring" cuts to Miss Davies' face and left breast as "punishment" for trying to end the relationship, before eventually going on to kill her.

CCTV footage showed Taylor attempting to hoist Miss Davies' near-lifeless body over a hedge out of view.

Image copyright Dyanne Lambert
Image caption The groom had been living with Jordan Taylor in a flat at the horse sanctuary

He was found by police crouching in bushes near her body. Miss Davies died later that night in Basildon Hospital.

Taylor was charged with her murder.

'Jealous and ruthless'

The jury heard Taylor, a martial arts enthusiast, had tried to control a number of aspects of Miss Davies' life.

Her mother Dyanne Lambert told the court he would not allow her daughter to wear short-sleeved or low-cut tops and the couple would often argue.

"She became very quiet and didn't want to talk about what was going on," she said.

Image copyright Essex Horse & Pony Protection Society
Image caption Miss Davies worked as a groom at the sanctuary

Speaking after Taylor was sentenced, Mrs Lambert said: "Obviously nothing will bring our Laura back but we are glad that he will be off the streets for a very long time.

"Twenty-three years is long, but it will not bring our baby back."

Image caption Laura's parents John Davies (left) and Dyanne Lambert (centre) paid tribute to their daughter after sentencing

Miss Davies' father, John Davies, said: "We've lost Laura forever and it's very hard to deal with.

"We thank the justice system for all their work and for the sentence, but we repeat, it still never brings our beautiful Laura back."

Judge Gratwicke told Taylor his "wicked actions" had "totally devastated the family".

"This was an appalling killing and you have shown not a shred of remorse through the trial for your actions," he said.

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