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'Monster' husband and wife jailed for 84 drug and child sex offences

Nicholas and Joan Taylor. Credit: Northamptonshire Police/PA Wire

A couple convicted of 84 drug and child sex offences - including rape - have been jailed.

Nicholas and Joan Taylor subjected nine children aged as young as 11 to a campaign of abuse which saw them use crack cocaine to force them to carry out sex acts on them.

The couple from Northampton committed the offences between 1996 and 2006.

Their trial heard the pair had fired a crossbow at one of their victims and used him as a human dart board. The victim told how he would be hit if he moved.

When police raided the couple's home they found a baseball bat under the bed which they used to threaten their victims with. The bat had the words "The Pain" inscribed on it.

Nicholas Taylor, 47, (previously known as Ronald Victor Stevenson), was found guilty of 62 charges including ten rapes, three counts of rape of a child under 13, ten counts of indecency with a child, 11 counts of sexual activity with a child and six counts of supplying Class A drugs.

His wife Joan Taylor, 44, was found guilty of 22 charges, including six rapes, nine counts of indecency with a child and four counts of supplying Class A drugs.

Giving evidence at the trial, one of the victims who is now aged in her 30s, told how the abuse she suffered as a child drove her to attempt suicide.

Addressing the court the woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - said: "I wanted to die because of what he [Nicholas Taylor] has done to me.

"What happened was a long time ago but it still feels so raw.

"I would have been a different person if it had not been for him.

"What happened is there every day. I don't have to think back to it, I live it every day.

"I'm not going to have any children because I don't want to bring them into the world I live in."

Jurors were also told one girl was injected with amphetamines to get her hooked and then driven to a layby to perform sex acts on a man.

Another boy was made to carry out sex acts on the Taylors in return for crack cocaine.

Sentencing the couple at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: "You [Nicholas Taylor] caused children to become addicted to drugs and you used their bodies for your pleasure.

"In truth your behaviour stems from craven lack of any moral compass and your depraved appetite for drugs and sexual gratification.

"You raped children. You are an intelligent man, but a monster.

"I have looked to see whether you have any redeeming characteristics, whether there might be any prospect that you will ever be anything better than a monster. I see no good in you, I see no prospect of you changing."

The court heard that Mr Taylor, who had previously been in prison for a number of convictions, had tried to portray himself as leading a crime-free life while carrying on his offending.

The judge said: "The jury heard evidence to the effect that to the outside world you were, in the indictment period, portraying yourself as a reformed character, someone who had experienced the depravity of the drugs world and had emerged rehabilitated.

"Whilst in fact, at the same time, you were depriving and corrupting young people with drugs and abusing them sexually."

He added: "You are a very very dangerous man."

Addressing Joan Taylor, he said: "You, despite your not guilty pleas, have shown remorse for your behaviour."

Northamptonshire Police Detective Inspector Adam Pendlebury welcomed the judges's decision to sentence Mr Taylor to life with a minimum of 18 years and Ms Taylor to 18 years.

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DI Pendlebury added: “Neither Nicholas nor Joan have shown any remorse for their actions despite knowing how their actions have impacted on their victims.

“The Taylors plied their victims with drugs and alcohol before sexually abusing them and that abuse has had a lasting impact on their victims.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support during our investigation and the court process.

"Coming forward and giving evidence during the trial was incredibly brave and has led to two dangerous individuals being sent to prison for a very long time.

“The pain and suffering they caused their victims cannot be underestimated and I hope the knowledge that their abusers will be in prison for many years will give the victims some comfort."