A man who stabbed a young woman to death outside the horse sanctuary where she worked has been convicted of her murder in a British court.
Jordan Taylor, 22, was found guilty by a jury of murdering 21-year-old Laura Davies after an eight-day trial in Chelmsford Crown Court.
Laura, described as a beautiful young woman who loved her work, suffered more than 80 stab wounds in the attack.
Laura was a groom at the Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society in Pitsea and had worked there for two and a half years. Her work included staying in a flat on site to care for the animals at night.
The jury heard that Laura, who had been devoted to horses since childhood, had been dating Taylor since late 2014 and he had moved into her accommodation at the stables.
Colleagues, friends and family told jurors that she had grown tired of Taylor’s controlling and jealous behaviour by June last year.
She planned to end the relationship on the evening of July 3, but – in a sign of her caring nature – did not want to see Taylor homeless.
Police were called to the sanctuary in Pitsea Hall Lane that evening around 8.15. A member of the public had contacted police to say he had just seen a woman being stabbed and that he had seen the man standing over her covered in blood.
Police arrived to find Laura lying critically injured. Taylor was found nearby.
A 9-centimetre black-handled kitchen knife used in the attack, its blade bent out of shape, was found in bushes nearby.
Laura was rushed to hospital but died later that night.
“Taylor had displayed controlling and jealous behaviour and Laura had tried to end their relationship,” Detective Chief Inspector Marina Ericson, who led the investigation, said following the verdict.
“This came to head on that night in July and resulted in fatal consequences.
“Taylor attacked Laura in the kitchen of the flat and as she tried to get away from him he had followed her through a small garden and in to a grassed area where he then stabbed her repeatedly. She was fighting for her life. His vengeful and violent actions took that young life away.”
Davies’ mother, Dyanne Lambert, described the loss of her daughter as devastating. “She was a very loving child who lived for her horses. She had been riding since she was three years old when she had her first pony.
“She had worked at the horse sanctuary for two and half years and it was her life.
“We miss her dreadfully and are struggling to come to terms with what happened.”
Her family said the world had lost an amazing person and their lives would never be the same without her.
“Laura was a loving, caring person, who didn’t have a bad bone in her body,” they said.
“She had a passion for animals and devoted her life to caring for and protecting them.
“Laura was beautiful and loved by all who knew her. She is greatly missed and will always be in our hearts and never forgotten.”
Senior District Crown Prosecutor for East of England Crown Prosecution Service, Punam Malhan, described the attack on Laura as vicious and sustained, saying it involved more than 80 separate wounds.
“Jordan Taylor’s actions were a result of a jealous rage after Laura ended their relationship. His actions have needlessly ended a young woman’s life and robbed her of any future.”
“We are committed to bringing cases of domestic violence to court and to securing a conviction; in this case it means Taylor will spend many years behind bars for this horrific attack.
“Laura’s family, friends, and work colleagues all spoke of a beautiful young woman who loved her work with animals at the sanctuary and we hope the conviction of Mr Taylor for her murder brings some comfort to them in their loss.”
Laura’s friends and colleagues at the horse sanctuary have set up a memorial fund in her name to help fund a project to benefit the animals she cared so much about. At the time of writing it had raised more than £3000 towards its target of £20,000.