Lodger Darren Taylor goes on trial over murder of Preston man Steven May

The trial of a 45-year-old lodger accused of murdering a Preston man at the home they shared in Deepdale began at Preston Crown Court today (January 29).

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 5:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 10:40 am

Darren John Taylor appeared in the dock accused of murdering Steven Edward May, 50, at the victim's home in Raven Street, Deepdale, in May last year.

Taylor has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.

In the prosecuting counsel's opening statement, Gordon Cole QC said he intends to submit to the court evidence that will prove that Mr May was killed by Taylor.

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A police officer outside the home Steven May and Darren Taylor shared at 31 Raven Street, Deepdale, Preston on May 20, 2019

The court heard paramedics pronounced Mr May dead at his home on May 20, 2019, after the defendant called 999 to report that he had found him unresponsive on his bed with blood around his mouth.

Prosecuting counsel told the court that CCTV footage shows that the last time Steven May was seen alive had been in the early evening of May 18, at approximately 9.52pm.

The court was told that Mr May had most likely died around 24 hours earlier, on either Saturday, May 18 or Sunday, May 19.

The prosecution said that Mr May had a record of poor health, suffering from epilepsy and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and had been alcohol dependant for many years.

He had been cared for by his mother Sheila before her death in October 2018, and latterly, by social services who had agreed a care package for him.

In the months before his death, Mr May had been considered so unwell and vulnerable that social services had arranged for carers to visit him six days a week to support him with his personal care, hygiene, medication and meal preparation.

The court heard that in February 2019, Taylor had moved into Mr May's semi-detached home as a lodger, where he lived until Mr May's death.

In the period after Taylor moved in with Mr May, the court heard how the defendant had regularly been seen in the area, but Mr May seemed to stop going out as much and was rarely seen by neighbours.

Prosecuting counsel told the court how Mr May had been seen by one neighbour about three weeks before he died in the local McColl’s convenience shop.

At that stage his appearance had changed so drastically that the neighbour did not recognise him.

Mr May had lost weight, his hair had grown long and he had an unkempt beard. He was described as ‘shuffling’ like an old man and didn’t acknowledge the neighbour, which was deemed out of character for him.

Proceedings are adjourned until tomorrow morning (January 30) when the prosecution's opening statement will resume.

The trial is expected to last up to four weeks, with the prosecution intending to rely on CCTV, digital and telephone evidence, including drone footage, to support its case.