Woman 'hated former lover'

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A WOMAN accused of murdering her lover's wife said their affair had ended 'several months' before the killing and that she hated him, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

Michelle Taylor, 21, told the court her feelings for John Shaughnessy changed when his wife Alison told her that he was having an affair with a woman in Ireland. ' At the time I could not be friends with Alison because I was sleeping with her husband. As time went on I realised it was not Alison I was jealous of or hated, but John,' she said.

Miss Taylor and her sister Lisa, 19, of Forest Hill, south-east London both deny murdering Mrs Shaughnessy, 21, of Battersea, south-west London, on 3 June 1991. She was stabbed 54 times.

After she discovered that Mr Shaughnessy had been with another woman, Miss Taylor said she tried to end the affair. 'I did not want the affair anymore, but it was very hard to get out of it. I was too weak to say no,' she said.

She said this weakness made her feel physically sick and unhappy. After they made love Mr Shaughnessy would leave to see Alison. 'He made me feel used, I hated myself,' she said.

Miss Taylor admitted when Mrs Shaughnessy moved into her husband's room at the Churchill clinic in Lambeth that she felt jealous. 'You have got to understand that when I was seeing John, Alison was never around. Then she moved into the house and it was hard for me to see them together.'

Miss Taylor agreed that she had lied to the police when she told them her sister had never been to Mrs Shaughnessy's flat. She said Mr Shaughnessy asked her to clean his windows and they went to do them three weeks before the murder. He denies this.

John Nutting, for the prosecution, suggested that Miss Taylor had fabricated this story because her sister's fingerprints had been found in the flat. Miss Taylor denied this.

Miss Taylor repeatedly denied murdering Mrs Shaughnessy. 'Me and my sister never went to that house on 3 June. We did not kill Alison,' she said.

She agreed that Mr Shaughnessy had told her he wanted to spend more time with his wife because they were going to start a family, but denied that she was afraid of loosing him.

The sisters claim that they went shopping in Bromley on the day of the murder. Philip Beeson, Lisa's friend, told the court that he had seen them there outside McDonald's, but he could not remember when. 'I couldn't say what day, month or date it was, just that it was in 1991,' he said.

The trial continues today.