Murder accused John Taylor denied he was having an affair when police questioned him (From Ludlow Advertiser)
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Murder accused John Taylor denied he was having an affair when police questioned him
MURDER accused John Taylor denied he was having an affair when police questioned him about it on the night of his wife's disappearance, a jury has been told.
Police found out about undertaker Taylor's relationship with Alison Dearden while they were investigating the disappearance of his wife Alethea on Thursday, January 19 last year.
PC Leatte Clarke told the jury at Worcester Crown Court that Taylor was asked about the relationship and said they were "just friends."
He said he had "done her husband" which meant he had officiated at the funeral, PC Clarke said. They had then had further contact while he was talking to her about the choice of headstone.
The 61-year-old denies murder. He claims his 63-year-old wife, a former primary school teacher who previously lived in The Broadway, Dudley, had dementia and had wandered off on two previous occasions before she disappeared.
She has not been found.
The jury has already heard from Mrs Dearden that she and Taylor were having an af fair.They had met while involved in the local church choir circuit and started a relationship after her husband died. They split up in May last year, shortly before Taylor's arrest in June.
PC Clarke said she had looked around the house after police had been called. A family friend had shown her the bedroom where a bracelet was on the bedside table.
The friend said Mrs Taylor never went out without the bracelet because it had been a present from her father and was "special".
Earlier, PC Alan Tobey told the court he had arrived at Taylor's home in Mortimer Drive, Orleton, north Herefordshire, to investigate the missing person report in the early evening of January 19.
He said Taylor was there with several friends.
Taylor told him he had last seen his wife that morning before he left to wash a hearse in preparation for a funeral the following day. He returned home at 10.45am to drop of f buckets in the garage but did not go into the house and did not see his wife. He then went to do some work on a property he had bought and was developing in Westgate, Leominster. She had been due to join him there but he called her several times and got no reply. He said he did not know what his wife was wearing but she usually favoured chunky knit jumpers with a blouse and dark trousers.
Villagers, including friends from the local church community, said he had gone round the village in the afternoon asking if anyone had seen her that day, becoming more anxious and close to tears.
PC Tobey said it had been a cold night with a bitter wind and some rain but friends and neighbours had joined police teams with dog handlers searching the area.