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Two found guilty in connection with William Taylor murder

4 Nov 2019
  • Angela Taylor and Paul Cannon were found guilty of murder at St Albans Crown Court.

  • William 'Bill' Taylor was reported missing from his home address on 4 June 2018.

  • His body was found on 10 February this year.

Two people have today (Monday 4 November) been found guilty of the murder of William ‘Bill’ Taylor.


Bill, a 69 year old farmer from Gosmore, near Hitchin, was reported missing from his home address on 4 June 2018.


His body was found in the River Hiz near Charlton Road, Hitchin, on Sunday 10 February.


Today at St Albans Crown Court, two people, including his estranged wife, have been found guilty of his murder:
• Angela Taylor, age 53 of Charlton Road, Hitchin, has been found guilty of murder and arson.
• Paul Cannon, age 54 of Pirton Road, Hitchin, has been found guilty of murder and arson.


Their co-defendant, Gwyn Griffiths, age 60 of Lucy Avenue, Folkestone, was found not guilty of conspiracy to murder and discharged.


Bill had been involved in farming all his life and had acquired a significant amount of land and local farms in Gosmore. In 1992, he began a relationship with Angela Taylor. Each had a child from previous relationships and they went on to have three children together. They married in 1997.


The court heard how the couple separated in 2015 and entered a post-marital agreement that split the estate, which was worth several million pounds. Bill signed over two farms and various outbuildings to Angela.


In July 2017, Angela met Paul Cannon and upon hearing that Paul’s marriage was in trouble, Bill provided him with a room to stay in at his home, Harkness Hall. Angela and Paul became close, forming a relationship but keeping it secret, despite Bill’s suspicions.


By March 2018, Angela began divorce proceedings against Bill’s wishes.
Following extensive enquiries after Bill was reported missing, Angela and Paul were declared suspects and arrested on 19 September 2018.


An examination of Paul’s phone revealed explosive content and while much of it was crudely coded, it was clear that Paul and Angela were planning on murdering Bill and potentially recruiting others to carry this out.


WhatsApp messages between the two showed that they had been planning and discussing his murder since February 2018. They talked of ‘B’ or ‘Plan B’ as a code for killing Bill and Paul confirmed that he had made enquiries about getting a hitman but upon hearing the price, decided that Paul could do it himself. They discussed not using text message for fear of the police searching their phones but Paul reassured Angela that WhatsApp would be ok. Further depraved messages included discussing torturing Bill and making love while covered in his blood.


It is believed that Bill was lured from his house and attacked and murdered on his property before being deposited in the river. Bill suffered from tinnitus and his earpiece had been left behind which suggests that he had not planned to be outside for long. Bill always wore a bracelet and a link from it was found near the cow shed on his property, suggesting he was involved in a struggle there.


Around a week before his disappearance, Bill had reported an allegation of arson to police after his vehicle was set alight. Angela and Paul have subsequently been found guilty of arson too.


Detective Chief Inspector Carl Foster said: “Angela Taylor and Paul Cannon are clearly devious, manipulative and callous people. This was a needless murder of a defenceless father and grandfather fuelled by venom, hatred and greed. William had been very generous to Angela, gifting to her considerable land and property but this was not enough for her. 


“Together with Cannon, she plotted to have the father of her children killed. Shortly after William was reported missing, he would have celebrated his 70th birthday. Due to the evil actions of Angela Taylor and Paul Cannon, he was never able to celebrate this milestone birthday with his loved ones.


“As if their actions and denial of Bill’s murder were not sickening enough, Angela and Paul have defended themselves by blaming the murder on Bill’s eldest son.


“I would like to thank Bill’s family for their dignity throughout this ordeal. They have been through unimaginable turmoil and while nothing will make up for the loss of Bill, I hope they feel that some justice has been served.”


Speaking on behalf of his family, Bill’s eldest son Richard, said: “With the return of the guilty verdict today, the truth we have always known has finally come out.

“We are so grateful to the police and prosecution team for their hard work, dedication and determination in getting justice for my father William (Bill) Taylor.

“This senseless act that has destroyed my family is finally coming to an end, it will never be truly over but we can now start to grieve/mourn our loss knowing justice has been done.”

Bill’s family have requested their privacy is respected at this difficult time.

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