Wife and lover jailed for 21 years for murder of multi-millionaire farmer

8 November 2019, 11:44

Angela Taylor, 53, and Paul Cannon, 54, killed wealthy farmer William Taylor
Angela Taylor, 53, and Paul Cannon, 54, killed wealthy farmer William Taylor. Picture: Hertfordshire Police

A wife and her lover who shared twisted fantasies of having sex in her multi-millionaire husband's blood have been jailed for 21 years for murdering him.

Angela Taylor, 53, and Paul Cannon, 54, killed wealthy farmer William Taylor, fuelled by a "venomous hatred" of him and his refusal to grant his wife of 20 years a divorce.

For months, the couple had secretly revelled in violently pornographic fantasies of torturing and maiming the landowner, who vanished just days before his 70th birthday last June.

Farmer William Taylor vanished just days before his 70th birthday last June
Farmer William Taylor vanished just days before his 70th birthday last June. Picture: File

Passing sentence at a packed 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.

The spot where William Taylor’s body was found in the River Hiz near Hitchin
The spot where William Taylor’s body was found in the River Hiz near Hitchin. Picture: LBC News

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

He 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."

Mr Taylor's skeletal remains 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.

The jury of eight women and four men convicted Taylor and digger driver Cannon on Monday after little more than 11 hours of deliberations.

Despite a lack of forensic evidence, jurors found them guilty after hearing evidence of 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 pair had exchanged 28,000 messages between February and June last year, believing they were safe and could not be accessed.

But they were later found by police in the memory of Cannon's phone, despite being deleted by the farm labourer.

The pair were jailed for 22 years minus the 343 days already spent in custody, meaning 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 for torching Mr Taylor's Land Rover, to be served concurrently.

The judge said he saw "no reason to distinguish between the defendants" and acknowledged that, while Taylor was probably not involved in the physical killing, she was the "driving force behind it".

He added: "If and when they are released, they will be subject to licence for life."

Reporting by PA

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