William Taylor: Dead farmer 'got stuck in mud' on riverbank

image source, South Beds News Agency
image captionWilliam Taylor died after he got "stuck in mud", a defence counsel told jurors

A wealthy farmer probably died after getting "stuck in mud", a court heard.

The skeletal remains of William Taylor, 69, were found on a riverbank near Hitchin, Hertfordshire, in February, eight months after he was last seen.

Mr Taylor's estranged wife Angela Taylor, 53, and her lover Paul Cannon, 54, deny murdering him.

Michael Magarian QC, defending Cannon, said Mr Taylor's lack of injuries suggested the question of how he died had a "rather banal answer".

He told St Albans Crown Court Mr Taylor had got repeatedly stuck in "wet and boggy ground" while erecting a fence in 2017 on the "exact same spot" he was found dead.

image source, South Beds News Agency
image captionThe body of William Taylor was found eight months after he disappeared

A teacup found beside his decomposed body, near his home of Harkness Hall, in Gosmore, indicated Mr Taylor may have "gone to that spot like a picnic, almost", said Mr Magarian.

"Is it so incredible that a man who has no injuries at all, ribs entirely intact, no broken bones or skull fracture ... is it incredible to accept that he got stuck in mud?

"He was found up to his waist in mud and upright. He was visible, for goodness' sake, still in his boiler overalls.

"What's the point in killing someone and then leaving the body visible?"

Prosecutor John Price QC has previously said Mr Taylor may have suffered a "possible fracture" to the neck.

image source, South Beds News Agency
image captionPolice officers searched a farm belonging to his estranged wife Angela Taylor

Regarding sexually graphic and violent messages between Mr Cannon and Ms Taylor, Mr Magarian said: "Some people express themselves more extremely than others."

"Death threats are common currency" in society today, he added, citing those against MPs.

"They don't describe a coherent plan to murder," he said.

A third defendant, Gwyn Griffiths, 60, of Folkestone, Kent, denies conspiracy to murder after allegedly discussing hiring a hitman with Mr Cannon.

Ms Taylor and Mr Cannon, both of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, also deny arson on Mr Taylor's Land Rover.

The trial continues.

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