'Dangerous' Nicola Lee jailed for killing partner Paul Taylor with knife through the heart

A "dangerous" girlfriend who killed her partner with a knife through the heart has been jailed for 14 years.

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 11:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 2:08 pm

Nicola Lee "terminated" Paul Taylor's life in the kitchen at her home in the early hours of mothers' day, on March 31, then put on a "convincing act" that he had inflicted the fatal wound himself.

After a trial at Newcastle Crown Court, jurors rejected her lies and found the 44-year-old, of Thames Avenue, Jarrow, South Tyneside, who has a history of being violent to previous partners, guilty of manslaughter.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer told her said Lee it was "only a matter of time" before her readiness to pick up a knife would lead to someone being seriously hurt.

Nicola Lee

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He said Lee had taken drink, prescription medication and smoked cannabis before the killing, which made her "aggressive, argumentative and violent".

The judge told her: "You had shown a pattern of such behaviour in the past, both with Paul Taylor and previous partners."

‘Pathologically jealous’

Justice Spencer said Lee had been "pathologically jealous" when she stabbed a previous boyfriend in the thigh with a garden fork in 2013 and had attacked another partner with a knife while "provoked by jealousy and drink" in 2017.

Paul Taylor

The judge said "things did not change" when Lee started her relationship with Mr Taylor in 2018 and said she would be "abusive and vindictive" towards him.

Justice Spencer said a neighbour's description of Lee being "manipulative, calculating, dangerous, vicious and aggressive" was accurate.

The judge said Mr Taylor was in no position to defend himself due to his intoxication a the time of the fatal attack and he told Lee: "You slashed him about the face and the head and then you plunged the knife into his chest, through his heart, causing his fatal injury.

"I accept you did not intend thereby to kill him or to cause him really serious bodily harm and I interpret the jury's verdict as being that you lacked the specific intent for murder by reason of your state of intoxication."

The judge said Lee put on a "play act" that Mr Taylor had stabbed himself and told lies when it suited her afterwards.

He told Lee: "You were all too ready to arm yourself with a weapon, and in particular knives, when you perceived the need, usually wholly without justification as on this occasion and it was only a matter of time before this propensity led you to cause serious injury and sadly, on this occasion, the death of a man who, whatever his faults, was much loved by his friends and family.

"You sought to blame Paul Taylor in a cowardly fashion for this own death rather than acknowledge what you had done and provide a truthful explanation to the police and to this court.

"The jury's finding carries with it the inevitable conclusion that you maintained your lies through to the perjured evidence, you gave this court, indication a lack of remorse and a continuing inability on your part to recognise your own wicked characteristics, which were dramatically laid before this court and which include a significantly dangerous streak, particularly when you are in drink."

Mr Taylor's grieving family and friends had packed the public gallery throughout the trial.

‘Paul's 46th birthday was during the trial. We should have been celebrating with him, not going to the crematorium or being at his murder trial.’

In a heartbreaking statement about the impact of losing her son, Mr Taylor's mother said: "He messaged me on the Saturday to ask me to call for my mother's day card the next day.

"That was my last conversation with him. Before I got there, the police arrived at my house with the devastating news.

"Upsettingly, I had to open my card a few days later, when he was no longer with us.

"Paul's 46th birthday was during the trial. We should have been celebrating with him, not going to the crematorium or being at his murder trial."

She added: "The effect of losing my son Paul has been devastating for me and I miss him so much.

"He had a brilliant sense of humour and was a chatterbox. I miss the funny things he did, like doing silly dances while walking along the street, putting on silly voices and imitating people."He adored his children. They miss him so much. His youngest son is so traumatised he wont speak about his dad.

"He has a grandchild he won't be able to get to know."

Mr Taylor's sister Claire Preston said in her victim impact statement: "We are devastated by our loss.

"I can't say Paul was a saint by he was a loveable man with a big personality.

"I don't know a great deal about Nicola Lee but she clearly wasn't the person she portrayed herself to be when she first started her relationship with Paul.

"I loved my brother, very much, he will be such a big loss to me and all of my family.

"I am heartbroken to have lost my only big brother who told me he would always be there for me."

Footage released

Following Lee's conviction, Northumbria Police released shocking bodcam footage of her swearing, struggling and being aggressive with officers who arrested her after she was told Mr Taylor had passed away.

Prosecutor Caroline Goodwin QC had told the court during the trial how Mr Taylor's friend Shaun Hunter described an "atmosphere"between the couple while drinking at her home on March 30.

She said when Mr Hunter left the address, he received a phone call from Mr Taylor and he walked back to meet him.

Ms Goodwin QC told the court how Mr Taylor had said to Mr Hunter that his head was "battered" as Lee was going "on and on and on."

The court heard how Mr Hunter told him to come back with him and but Mr Taylor said no as he was going to go back and "sort it out" with Lee.

Ms Goodwin QC said: "The Crown said that decision was the worst decision of Paul Taylor's life."

Ms Goodwin QC said a shop worker described seeing Mr Taylor "crying" while buying two bottles of Southern Comfort just after 9pm night that.

She said, not long later, Lee walked into the same shop to buy a case of Magners cider.

The shop worker, who described her as being in a "foul mood" heard Lee shouting "they better get out my flat or I'll kill them."

Ms Goodwin QC told the court how Lee's neighbour Margaret Mason heard the couple arguing just after 10pm and Lee shouting: "I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you, I'll f***ing kill you."

She said the neighbour then heard a "scuffle" take place and she heard shouts of: "Paul Paul."

Ms Goodwin QC told the court how Lee has a "propensity to be violent" with previous convictions for criminal damage and affray.

The court heard how a friend of the couple had previously heard Lee saying to Mr Taylor: "I could kill you and get away with it because of my bipolar."

Nicholas Lumley QC, defending, said Mr Taylor's death was an "almost impossible to explain tragedy, in many ways" and that Lee had had a traumatic life from an early age.

Mr Lumley added: "This death will remain with her for the rest of her life."