My FRIEND killed her son

PUBLISHED: 18:16 07 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:06 23 August 2010

TRAGIC: James' debt ridden mother took his life

TRAGIC: James' debt ridden mother took his life

DID I really know Jennifer over the last few years? All the way through I supported her, I wrote to her in prison asking if there was anything I could do for her. But then I heard what was said in court, and I don t know what to think anymore. One minu

DID I really know Jennifer over the last few years? All the way through I supported her, I wrote to her in prison asking if there was anything I could do for her.

"But then I heard what was said in court, and I don't know what to think anymore. One minute I feel sympathy for her, but the next minute anger, how could she have killed her son?"

These are the harrowing words of Donna Holpin, a close friend of Jennifer Taylor, who last Friday was detained indefinitely in a mental institution when she appeared at Maidstone Crown Court for drowning her 11-year-old son in the bath.

The Wilmington Grammar School pupil was found by police officers at the home he shared with his mother in Knights Croft, New Ash Green, on December 2 last year. She was rushed to hospital after trying to kill herself but survived.

Taylor, 55, who became severely depressed by mounting debts of nearly £290,000, denied his murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mrs Holpin, from Horton Kirby, who attended all of Taylor's court appearances, now says she feels "mixed emotions" about the case after hearing the gruesome details of the final days of James life read out in court. It included evidence of a bite mark on her hand, which the prosecution say was the only sign of a struggle before he died.

The mother-of-two, said: "Things started changing in my own mind when I heard about that bite mark. It was the turning point for me, when I didn't know what to think anymore.

"I had supported her fully up to that point, but I now can't bear to think that he might have struggled, I just hope he didn't suffer. He deserved a life, regardless of her debt.

"Now she is in hospital, it is the best place, and she was given the appropriate sentence for what she did.

"What's important to me though is I think justice has been done for James."

Mrs Holpin has known Taylor for six years, and met through playing tennis at the David Lloyds fitness centre in Darenth Road, Dartford.

Her two sons were both close to James, and played in a lot of the same sports teams.

Mrs Holpin added: "He was such a lovely boy, the most wonderful, polite child. He would always have all the nice things, like the latest Xbox and gadgets, but he never came across as spoilt.

"And she was the most devoted mother I have ever known. She would do anything for him, never got angry with him, never raised her voice.

"She appeared totally different in that dock, it took my breath away the first time I saw her.

"She looked tired, her skin looked grey. She was always so well turned out, with makeup, shoulder length blond hair, she was a proper lady.

"She took James away on short breaks, even said she was going to buy James an apartment in Dubai so that when James got older he could see his father. turn to page 2

"I have a husband, a job, but Jenny didn't. Jenny's life was James, It as though she had decided to devote her life to him.

After Taylor was sentenced on Friday, Mrs Holpin visited James' grave for the first time.

"There was nothing there, no flowers, no gravestone yet, just a pile of stones," she said.

"I think I am going to write to the hospital and tell Jenny that whenever I am near, or on special occasions like his birthday or at Christmas, I will visit him, and make sure he has something there, everyone deserves flowers on their grave like he deserved the right to life.


Latest News

Mon, 15:35

Detectives are appealing for witnesses after a man was assaulted on a train to Gravesend on Friday night (November 16).

Mon, 07:00

Gardeners across Kent opened their gardens to the public and held private events as part of a Gravesend-based charity’s Glorious Gardens programme.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The son of a woman last seen more than a month ago, has expressed his family’s gratitude to all those who have helped to search for her.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Councillors claim more people in Kent will feel the effects of climate change if the demands from central government to build “huge numbers” of homes are met.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Now back from recording the second series of All Together Now, Brit School teacher and Bromley local Georg Tormann is now warming up for Christmas with his Beckenham-based choir.

Most read

Digital Edition

Read the Gravesend Reporter e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Gravesend Reporter twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24