Woman in murder trial tells of jealousy

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The Independent Online
A WOMAN accused of murdering her lover's wife admitted that she was jealous of her but denied killing her, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

Michelle Tayor, 21, told the court that she hated Alison Shaughnessy for several months before her death. 'I still loved John and I was very jealous of Alison,' she said.

Miss Taylor and her sister Lisa, 18, 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.

Miss Taylor admitted that she had described Mrs Shaughnessy as an 'unwashed bitch' in her diary and that her 'dream solution would be for Alison to disappear'. But she denied that this was a motive to kill her.

Miss Taylor said she met John Shaughnessy at the Churchill clinic in Lambeth, south London, in 1988. 'At first we were just friends,' she said. But a year later their relationship changed. 'John would always be around and came to see me . . . in January he asked me out for a drink and I went. After that things just seemed to progress,' she said.

Miss Taylor said she was a virgin when she met Mr Shaughnessy and he asked her to go on the Pill. They first slept together in March 1989. 'John was my boyfriend and I was his girlfriend and I loved him,' she said.

Although Mr Shaughnessy was engaged to Alison, Miss Taylor said he only admitted this after they had been together for six months. 'I was very upset and hurt. I didn't speak to him for a couple of months. He called me at work but I avoided the phone calls,' she said.

Miss Taylor told the court that their relationship resumed several months before Mr Shaughnessy's wedding in June 1990 and she was invited to it as 'John's guest'.

She said she stayed in the same hotel as Mr Shaughnessy and on the night before his wedding he rang her room. 'He asked me to bring some teabags to his room for a cup of tea. I stayed the night and we slept together in the morning,' she said. Mr Shaughnessy denies this.

After Mr Shaughnessy's wedding Miss Taylor's feelings for him changed, she said. Mrs Shaughnessy told her that she thought her husband was having an affair with a woman in Ireland. 'I realised I was just being used along with Alison and the other girls. I could not bear to be with John Shaughnessy and I did not want a relationship with him any more,' she said.

Miss Taylor added that her feelings for Mrs Shaughnessy also changed. 'I did not have a hatred feeling towards her any more. In fact she was very nice,' she said.

She admitted that their relationship continued but by the time of Mrs Shaughnessy's murder Miss Taylor considered their affair over and felt that Mr Shaughnessy was 'just a friend'.

She told the court that on 3 June she went shopping in Bromley with her sister, Lisa. She told the police she had taken her credit card with her, but denied that she had used it at 3.20pm at a bank in Lambeth.

They both returned to the clinic at 5.20pm and went to Jeanette Tapp's room to watch Neighbours. Miss Tapp denies this.

After helping Mr Shaughnessy to arrange the clinic's flowers, she drove him home. They found Mrs Shaughnessy lying on the landing. 'At first I thought she had collapsed, but when I could not pick her up I went to feel her pulse and there was no pulse. She was really cold, just like stone,' she said.

Miss Taylor said that three weeks after Mrs Shaughnessy's funeral, Mr Shaughnessy tried to continue their relationship.

'I was totally disgusted at him. I told him he was very confused and needed to sort himself out,' she said.

She said Mr Shaughnessy had lied when he told the jury that she tried to resume their sexual relationship after the murder.

The trial continues today.