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Court hears former Blackheath teacher's body has yet to be found
6:35pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
Police could find no trace of the missing wife of a Herefordshire undertaker despite extensive inquiries, a jury at Worcester Crown Court has been told.
Following the disappearance of Alethea Taylor, a former Blackheath primary school teacher, in January last year, police contacted anywhere they felt she was likely to leave a "footprint."
Det Sgt Enrique Real told the court police had carried out house to house inquiries and then he had been responsible for co-ordinating the rest of the inquiries, which involved contacting local authorities across the country, banks and financial institutions, utilities companies and others. Further house to house inquiries were carried out following the arrest of her husband, 61-year-old John Taylor, in June last year. Taylor denies murder.
Det Sgt Real said there had been 29 reported sightings around the time of her disappearance from her home in Mortimer Drive, Orleton, north Herefordshire on January 19 last year. These included a sighting by a neighbour at 8.55am on the day she was reported missing and a phone call two days later saying she had been spotted on a footpath in Tenbury Wells.
Det Sgt Real told the court these were all investigated and categorised as to the likelihood of them being useful. The sighting in Tenbury, he said, described the 63-year-old as wearing a long coat and walking quickly. But she was not known to have a long coat and did not walk quickly because she had bunions on her feet.
Cross-examining, defending barrister Ignatius Hughes said Taylor accepted that his wife had not been found but did not know why.
"He simply doesn't know what happened to his wife," Mr Hughes said. Taylor maintains she had become confused and had wandered off.
Dr Richard Dales, Mrs Taylor's GP, told the court she had visited the practice for tinnitus in one ear and headaches in the months before her disappearance but there were no records to suggest she had dementia.
The trial continues.