Undertaker spun web of lies after murdering wife with baffling blood explanation

Alethea Taylor went missing in January 2012 and her body has never been found.

The only person who knows how she was killed and where her body was hidden is the one who was closest to her – her undertaker husband.

John Taylor was having an affair with another woman and spun a web of lies in order to stop his vile crime from being exposed, which is the subject of 5STAR documentary Countdown to Murder tonight.

But Taylor was branded a “deceitful man” by the prosecution at his month-long trial at Worcester Crown Court in 2013.

The close-knit community that the couple were part of would play a massive part in bringing him down.

Blood stains, texts to a mistress and a diary entry also led to his eventual undoing.

Alethea Taylor was murdered by her own husband
Alethea Taylor was murdered by her own husband

Alethea first met John in 1988 while on holiday after her previous marriage had broken down.

After retiring, Alethea and John moved to Orleton, Herefordshire, where they were involved in every aspect of village life.

The retired teacher was spent her life caring for others and was an active and much-loved member of a close-knit community, playing the organ in the church choir.

While her husband, also a respected member of the community, was caretaker for the village hall and the local undertaker, having built up a highly successful funeral directors.

They seemed like the perfect couple, but Taylor was hiding a secret that would have grave consequences.

John Taylor was found guilty of killing his wife
John Taylor was found guilty of killing his wife

The couple had been at choir practise at the church the day before she disappeared in January 2012 when she angrily left without singing.

“I can’t cope with it anymore,” she cryptically said – the last time she was seen in public before going missing.

When she mysteriously went missing in January 2012, around 100 worried villagers began desperately searching the streets.

Taylor claimed he had come home to find Alethea gone and the front door wide open.

Before she went missing, Taylor had made it known around the village that his wife was suffering from dementia, which was later exposed as a ruse to make her disappearance more plausible.

Alethea was a much-loved member of the community
Alethea was a much-loved member of the community

Taylor pointed to incidents where Alethea had been erratic in public, such as storming out of the pub after slamming down her drink and being found sobbing uncontrollably on a beach.

But there was no evidence of dementia in her medical records, while friends and neighbours testified to her sound mind.

During the trial in 2013, the court head that Taylor had tried “to spread around” the idea his wife was “in some way, losing her mind”.

But in written testimony her GP, Richard Dales, told the court she had no history of mental health problems.

“This was a blatant lie designed to explain away her disappearance,” said David Elliott, West Midlands Crown Prosecutor.

Taylor had tried to make out his wife’s mind was unravelling, when in fact her behaviour could be explained by his cheating ways.

A massive search began to find Alethea
A massive search began to find Alethea

Unhappy in his marriage, Taylor was having an affair with another woman from a nearby village who he was besotted with.

Alethea found out about the betrayal, writing about her concerns at her husband’s infidelity and the future of their marriage in her diary.

Calling her husband ‘Mr Nasty, Alethea wrote about being desperately upset that her husband would say he was visiting one place then go to another.

He had also put a £110,000 cash offer on a new house, telling Alethea it was an investment when in reality it was believed to be for his new partner.

In court, David Elliott, West Midlands Crown Prosecutor, said: “His wife found out and in a diary which was recovered from the house, Mrs Taylor highlighted her concerns at her husband’s infidelity and the future of their marriage.

An extract from Alethea's diary where she wrote about her suspicions
An extract from Alethea’s diary where she wrote about her suspicions

Six months after Alethea went missing, police arrested John due to the mounting evidence.

Despite there being no body, they did find bloodstains belonging to Alethea on a duvet cover on the couple’s bed and in his car.

Taylor had initially told police that she has suffered a nosebleed a few days before on her side of the bed, but forensics found her dried blood on his side.

Taylor denied prosecution claims that he had changed his story over the bloodstains.

Michael Burrows, prosecuting, asked Taylor how he could have a better recollection of the incident now than then.

Taylor said it was due to “the pressure at the time, being interviewed”.

Bloodstains were found on their bed
Bloodstains were found on their bed

“I have never harmed Alethea,” Taylor told the jury. “I have never hurt Alethea and I certainly did not kill Alethea.”

Mr Elliott described Taylor as a “deceitful man” who had “spun a web of lies” in order to avoid justice.

He added: “Scientific investigation from the family home and the defendant’s car provided the police with the vital evidence of Mrs Taylor’s blood, which Taylor tried to explain was due to his wife’s regular nosebleeds.

“He even claimed to have tried to contact his wife by telephone several times when she disappeared. Cell site analysis showed that he had called her only once, a call which lasted eight seconds.”

Taylor was found guilty of killing his wife at their bungalow and disposing of her body.

The undertaker was given a life sentence and told he must serve a minimum of 17 years.

Alethea's blood was also found in Taylor's car
Alethea’s blood was also found in Taylor’s car

While Taylor has been brought to justice, the police were still determined to continue the search for Alethea’s body.

Det Insp Dave Williams said West Mercia Police’s investigation had been “complex and challenging”, adding that it was “not over yet”.

“We will not rest until we find Alethea and I would urge Mr Taylor to do the right thing and tell us where she is so that those who loved her can have closure and peace of mind,” he said.

Her niece, Lorraine McKillop, said Andrea was missed “by a lot of family and friends”.

She said: “I find it very hard to understand why John would have done this. Why not just walk away, rather than the selfish act of leaving a lot of people wondering where she is?

“It’s not a very happy end to her life, when she has given so much to others, with still much more to give.

“I hope some day that we can find her and put her to rest in the proper fashion that is so deserving of someone who helped and cared for others.”

Taylor was an undertaker, but his legacy will be that his own wife was never given a proper funeral.

*Countdown to Murder airs tonight on 5STAR at 9pm

Originally from https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/undertaker-spun-web-lies-after-23468506

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