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Undertaker denies killing former Blackheath teacher with purple pillow
10:18am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
THE unfaithful undertaker on trial for murdering his wife, a former Blackheath teacher, has denied he put a pillow over her face and dumped her body.
John Taylor said he had no explanation why there was only one pillow in a purple pillowcase on the bed when police searched the house.
He also said he did not know why police could only find three purple pillowcases during the search.
"What happened to the fourth?" Michael Burrows, prosecuting, asked him as he gave evidence for a second day at Worcester Crown Court. "Was it stained with blood?"
Taylor denied this and also a suggestion from Mr Burrows that he had put the pillow over his wife Alethea's face.
He said a bloodstain on the purple duvet cover had been caused when his wife had a nosebleed two days before he reported her disappearance on January 19 last year.
He agreed with Mr Burrows that he was used to handling dead bodies as part of his job and that he had the materials to wrap up bodies in his house.
But he denied a suggestion that he had wrapped up his wife's body and dragged it out of their bungalow at Mortimer Drive, Orleton, near Tenbury Wells.
A high evergreen hedge at the front of the house would have covered him putting the body into his black BMW, Mr Burrows suggested.
Taylor denied this and further denied a suggestion from Mr Burrows that he would have known a number of secluded places in the countryside as he had been born in Herefordshire and brought up in the Leominster area.
"I have never harmed Alethea," he told the jury.
"I have never hurt Alethea and I certainly did not kill Alethea."
Taylor, aged 61, denies murder. He told the court that as far as he was concerned, his 63-year-old wife, a retired Blackheath primary school teacher, was "a missing person."
The prosecution alleges he was besotted with new lover Alison Dearden. He had officiated at her husband’s funeral and they had started a relationship some time later. He had then planned to move into a house with Mrs Dearden in Westgate, Leominster, that he was renovating. Mr Burrows suggested he had killed his wife and disposed of her body because she had become an “obstacle” to this plan.
He said Mrs Taylor had discovered the affair and on one evening in December when Taylor told her he had gone to play snooker, she found him at Mrs Dearden's house.
The jury heard that Mrs Taylor kept a notebook charting her feelings in the weeks leading up to her disappearance. She wrote that she was doing her best to keep the relationship going.
She also wrote that she had to "endure another country and western evening with the little widow singing," a reference to an occasion when they went to hear Mrs Dearden taking part in a concert after she had found out about the affair.
“It’s the body language and he knows how I feel,” she wrote.
Taylor told the jury he had not known about the notebook and he had not been aware of his wife’s feelings at the time.
He claims his wife had become increasingly confused and had suffered from headaches and nosebleeds.
He says she had wandered off on January 19 last year. She has not been found.
The trial continues.