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Wife and lover jailed for at least 21 years for killing wealthy farmer

Written by on 08/11/2019

A wife and her lover who fantasised about having sex in her multi-millionaire husband’s blood have been jailed for his murder.

Wealthy farmer William Taylor was killed by Angela Taylor, 53, and Paul Cannon, 54, after he refused to grant his wife of 20 years and the mother of three of his children a divorce.

The trial heard the couple had secretly revelled in violently pornographic fantasies of torturing and maiming the landowner.

Mr Taylor suffered from arthritis and tinnitus and vanished just days before his 70th birthday in June 2018.

Sentencing the pair at St Albans Crown Court on Friday at the end of a two-month trial, judge Michael Kay QC said: “Only Paul Cannon and Angela Taylor and perhaps an unknown accomplice know what happened that night.

“The evidence suggests that, having been lured out of his house, William Taylor was attacked in the farmyard and killed there by means of strangulation or suffocation.

“(William Taylor) loved Angela Taylor to the end despite whatever she did to him and however much she did not deserve that love.”

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The judge said the “primary reason” for the killing “may be simply the extent to which Angela Taylor in particular loathed the very sight of William Taylor and felt she could never be rid of him”.

For months, the couple had secretly revelled in violently pornographic fantasies of torturing and maiming the landowner

Image: For months, the couple had secretly revelled in violently pornographic fantasies

The skeletal remains of Mr Taylor were found waist-deep in mud on a secluded riverbank near one of his farms in Gosmore, Hertfordshire, in February eight months after he was last seen alive.

A “vain attempt” to make the scene look like a suicide or accident had been made with a bottle of Baileys liqueur, a teacup, an eaten corn on the cob and some rope placed by the body, the judge said.

The murder plot was revealed in lurid WhatsApp messages, which included fantasies of showering together as Mr Taylor’s blood ran down the drain and cutting his ligaments and fingers off.

The couple exchanged 28,000 messages between February and June last year.

Detectives later found the messages in the memory of Cannon’s phone, despite being deleted by the farm labourer.

The judge said that after Taylor began a secret affair with digger driver Cannon in late 2017, she promised to move back in with her husband if he signed over half of his property to her in a “duplicitous and calculating” move motivated by “insatiable greed”.

He added: “The truth was she hated William Taylor and she and Paul Cannon were already plotting to kill him.”

Mr Taylor had written a love letter to Taylor to try and win her back and had already given her two farms worth more than £1m debt-free in 2015 as part of a financial settlement.

The judge added: “There is an old adage which is peculiarly applicable to this case: money cannot buy you happiness.

“The Taylor family … collectively and individually owned properties and farm land near Hitchin worth tens of millions of pounds.

Paul Cannon, 54, killed wealthy farmer William Taylor, fuelled by a "venomous hatred"

Image: Cannon and Taylor exchanged thousands of WhatsApp messages

“However, a toxic combination of jealously, hatred and greed rendered all of them unhappy.”

Detective Chief Inspector Carl Foster, of Hertfordshire Police, said: “I hope that Angela Taylor and Paul Cannon’s time behind bars is spent reflecting on their evil actions.

“Bill was a well-loved father and grandfather and not long after he was reported missing, he should have been celebrating his 70th birthday with his loved ones.

“My thoughts remain with Bill’s family, who have acted with dignity throughout the investigation and trial.”

The couple, of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, were jailed for 22 years minus the 343 days already spent in custody.

It means they will spend a minimum of 21 years and 22 days in jail before they can be considered for parole.

They were also sentenced to two years after being convicted of arson – after they set fire to Mr Taylor’s Land Rover – to be served concurrently.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2019

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