Preston man Darren Taylor found guilty of murdering vulnerable Steven May

Jurors at Preston Crown Court reached a unanimous guilty verdict when convicting Darren Taylor, 45, of murdering Preston dad Steven May, 50.

Monday, 24th February 2020, 1:44 pm
Updated Monday, 24th February 2020, 4:55 pm

It was alleged Taylor physically and financially abused Steven May 50 in the run up to his death in May last year, after moving into his home in Raven Street

A pathologist said Mr May had suffered 76 rib fractures in the last 12 weeks of his life and immediately prior to his death he had suffered more acute rib fractures, compromising his ability to breathe, and a serious jaw fracture.

His family today paid tribute to him.The court also heard evidence about activity from Mr May's Halifax bank accounts.

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Steven May

In April 2019 £1,320 was withdrawn from his account.

Taylor, who said he had become Mr May's 'carer', had been heard by witnesses on the phone to the bank posing as Mr May to transfer money from his savings account, which had had several thousands pounds in, into his current account where it could be withdrawn.

At the time of his death Mr May had £8.40 in his savings and 35 pence in his current account.

Taylor had also posed as Mr May after his death to book a room at the Station Hotel in Preston.

Taylor declined to take to the witness stand in his defence, though his defence lawyer, John Jones QC told the court there was no forensic evidence in the house suggesting Mr May had been attacked there.

Having been arrested the defendant was interviewed on three occasions – but changed his account a number of times.

He claimed Steven May went out on the Sunday night, claiming in one interview he was 'already kettled' when he went out.

He said he then saw him come back in the early hours of Monday, May 20, with blood coming out of his mouth and that Steven told him that he had been assaulted over money for alcohol.

He says he then found him on Monday morning dead on the back bedroom bed.

In another interview Taylor said he had heard the key in the door and heard the key fall to the floor, that he had seen blood dripping out of Steven's mouth and that both went upstairs to bed in separate bedrooms.

However CCTV shows Mr May never left the house after 9.50pm on Saturday, May 18 and had no alcohol in his body when he died.

To neighbours and paramedics he spun another elaborate story, saying he found Steven dead on his bed and the front door ajar.

The court heard Steven habitually slept on the sofa.

He will be sentenced before Judge Robert Altham on March 20.