My FRIEND killed her son
PUBLISHED: 18:16 07 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:06 23 August 2010
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.