Father confesses to killing his newlywed daughter

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The Independent Online

In a brief appearance at Nottingham Crown Court, Terry Rodgers, 56, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Chanel Taylor, 23, last July, but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

His plea was not accepted by the prosecution which will press for a charge of murder. He was remanded in custody until a further hearing in September.

The body of Mrs Taylor, who died from shotgun wounds to the head, was found by her husband, Lee, a musician, on 30 July last year. Her father, who had been living with the couple, went into hiding in nearby woodland, sparking a manhunt involving more than 500 police officers.

Once in custody, he went on hunger strike on Christmas Eve, telling staff he wished to die "as quietly as possible". Within hours of being read his last rites, Mr Rodgers was declared mentally unfit to starve himself to death and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

He appeared in court last month for the first time since his hunger strike, at which time his defence counsel, Stephen Ferguson, said he accepted that he had killed Mrs Taylor.

Mr Ferguson said on that occasion: "First of all, Mr Rodgers accepts in court, through me, that he killed his daughter as alleged. He further accepts that he killed Chanel by shooting her in her home."

Mr Rodgers had "a low attention span" and had "cut off all links with the outside world", Mr Ferguson said. "In conference, he does his very best to focus ... talk frequently comes back to his daughter and the after-life in general."

Dressed in a white shirt and tie and looking frail and shaking in the dock, Mr Rodgers spoke only to confirm his name and enter his formal plea yesterday.

A man swore at him from the public gallery during the hearing, motioning that he would cut the defendant's throat. During Mr Rodgers' last court appearance, his estranged wife, Anne McPherson, from whom he split weeks before the wedding, lunged towards him and was escorted from the public gallery after shouting: "Let me out, I'll kill him."

Mrs Taylor had not long returned from honeymoon in Mexico when she was killed. On her wedding day, her father rode with her in a vintage limousine before giving her away at a register office ceremony. Friends said Mr Rodgers had been told he must leave the couple's house before they returned from Mexico.

Mr Justice Poole adjourned the case for a further hearing in September.