Man said killing of woman an accident, murder trial told


THE man on trial for the murder of a retired schoolteacher on a coastal path in Co Down admitted in a hand written statement that he stabbed her to death but claimed it was an accident, a court was told yesterday.

Mr Richard Close (24), from Bangor, Co Down at first denied any involvement but later admitted he had been on the same beach near Bangor as the woman on the day of her death.

Belfast Crown Court heard of the initial RUC interviews with Mr Close, who denies murdering Ms Daphne Taylor (59) on December 1st, 1994.

Mr Close admitted that when he went to the Co Down beach he was high on vodka and cannabis and had intended to kill himself. He said he "got stoned" to "escape" his raging temper at his girlfriend's refusal to let him see their two year old daughter.

In interviews after his arrest last January, Mr Close said he would never harm his girlfriend, who was seeing another man, or his daughter, but would have taken his anger out on any other woman. He told detectives that when he was feeling angry he would often go to the Co Down beach because watching the waves helped to calm him down.

In later interviews Mr Close admitted, in a handwritten statement, that he stabbed Ms Taylor but claimed it was an accident.