Martial arts enthusiast guilty of murdering ex-girlfriend at horse sanctuary
A jealous and controlling martial arts enthusiast has been found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend in a brutal attack.
Laura Davies, 21, died after the attack at the Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society base in Basildon, Essex, where she lived and worked as a groom.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard she suffered at least 80 stab wounds and the attack was so forceful that the knife used was bent to a 45-degree angle.
Unemployed Jordan Taylor, 22, of Basildon, had denied the murder on July 3 last year but was found guilty by a jury on Thursday. He will be sentenced on Friday.
The court heard Miss Davies ended their relationship moments before her death.
She had cooked a meal for Taylor in the flat they shared and told him that although the relationship was over, he could continue living there as she did not want to make him homeless.
Prosecutors said the attack began in the flat then continued outside as she fled in her pyjamas.
CCTV footage showed the defendant attempting to hoist Miss Davies's near-lifeless body over a hedge out of view.
Her family said she had been unhappy after he had begun telling her what to wear, prevented her going out and had taken control of her bank account.
Giving evidence, her mother Dyanne Lambert said he would not allow her to wear short-sleeved or low-cut tops and they would often argue.
Ms Lambert added: "She became very quiet and didn't want to talk about what was going on."
Giving evidence on the third day of his trial, Taylor - who was born in Carlisle before moving to Annan in Scotland and Swindon - described the moment he "stupidly" grabbed the knife he alleged his partner of six months had lunged at him with.
He denied purposefully making "disfiguring" cuts to Miss Davies's face and left breast as "punishment" for trying to end the relationship before eventually killing her.
Punam Malhan, senior district crown prosecutor for East of England Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This was a vicious and sustained attack involving 80 separate wounds.
"Jordan Taylor's actions were a result of a jealous rage after Laura ended their relationship. His actions have needlessly ended a young woman's life and robbed her of any future.
"We are committed to bringing cases of domestic violence to court and to securing a conviction; in this case it means Taylor will spend many years behind bars for this horrific attack.
"Laura's family, friends and work colleagues all spoke of a beautiful young woman who loved her work with animals at the sanctuary and we hope the conviction of Mr Taylor for her murder brings some comfort to them in their loss."
Speaking after the trial, Miss Davies's family said in a statement: "Through Laura's death the world has lost an amazing person and our lives will never be the same without her.
"Laura was a loving, caring person, who didn't have a bad bone in her body. She had a passion for animals and devoted her life to caring for and protecting them.
"Laura was beautiful and loved by all who knew her. She is greatly missed and will always be in our hearts and never forgotten."
Her friends and colleagues at the Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society have set up a memorial fund in her name.