An undertaker murdered his wife while having an affair with a widow he seduced after arranging her late husband’s funeral, a court heard today.
John Taylor, 61, is accused of killing wife Alethea, 63, six months after starting an “intense” relationship with Alison Dearden, 53.
A court heard he pursued her following the death of her husband David in November 2010 and had even prepared his funeral.
Taylor denies murdering his wife, whose body has never been found after she vanished in January last year.
Mrs Dearden told Worcester Crown Court yesterday how Taylor had showered her with gifts, days out and flowers before buying a “love nest” for them.
Just weeks after Mr Dearden died Taylor bombarded her with text messages and even left roses on her doorstep on her birthday.
The pair – who had known each other for 12 years after meeting at church and singing in the same choir – started a sexual relationship which became so intense that they discussed Taylor leaving his wife.
The jury heard they started sleeping together in July 2011 – six months before his wife disappeared.
Mrs Dearden told the court she had told Taylor his initial advances were “not appropriate”.
She said: “Shortly after the funeral in June he came round to drop off a card and two bottles of wine for my birthday.
“On my birthday in July I had been out with a friend when I came home to find some red roses on the doorstep.
“There was no note on them, but a few days later John rang me and asked if I had found some red roses on my doorstep.
“He asked me to go out for the day with him, and I asked him if he meant with Alethea. He said ‘no, just me’.
“I think I said ‘John you are married it is not appropriate for me to go out with you on your own.’ I think I said to him to come over for coffee and talk to me about it.
“He didn’t express his feelings for me on the phone. I think it was when he came round to the house to see me for a chat.
“He started to talk to me about his marriage to Alethea.
“He just said they had lived ‘like brother and sister’ for five or six years and he was very unhappy.
“We did eventually go out for the day, it was just John and I.
“I found John very easy to talk to, he found me easy to talk to.
“We just seemed to click. I think I told him how difficult I was finding life without David.
“I remember him asking me quite early on in the relationship if I was alright for money.
“I just assumed it was the sort of concerned question you’d ask as he knew I didn’t work.
“He told me he had never been so well off in his life. He had the lovely house the business, I wondered what he was doing with me.
“He told me Alethea had another house that she rented out.”
The jury was read a number of texts sent to Taylor by Mrs Dearden that showed the pair talking about living together.
In one group of texts she mentioned looking up houses on the internet and finding “a lovely bungalow in Harlech, with views of the beach”.
She said: “I think he was thinking about leaving, he was very unhappy.
“I felt dead when David died and then John came along and he brought me so much joy. It was a very intense relationship.
“I had very mixed feelings about staying in my village.
“I didn’t know if I would be better moving away and having a fresh start.
“David had so many friends in the community I always felt if John was to separate from his wife I didn’t think people would accept our relationship.”
In a text Taylor sent her, he said: “I don’t see how we will last till Christmas. I can’t last five months, I am so attracted to you.”
Prosecutor Jonas Hankin asked Mrs Dearden what she thought that text meant.
She replied: “I think John was saying he was willing to leave Alethea by Christmas.”
Earlier the court heard Taylor had used the couple’s joint bank account to buy a ‘love nest’ for him and Mrs Dearden.
The case continues.