Accused in Northampton sex abuse trial shot crossbow at boy and used him as a ‘dartboard’

Nicholas and Joan Taylor face more than 100 charges including child sex abuse and supplying class A drugs. Sketch by Helen Tipper.

Nicholas and Joan Taylor face more than 100 charges including child sex abuse and supplying class A drugs. Sketch by Helen Tipper.

A self-proclaimed Northampton “hard man” facing more than 100 sexual abuse and drug charges has admitted a single count of child cruelty during his trial.

Briar Hill husband and wife Nicholas and Joan Taylor are accused of carrying out a string of lewd sexual acts against children when they lived at Pitstone Road in the late nineties and early 2000s.

Many of the 11 victims claim to have been supplied with crack cocaine to make them more “compliant” with sexual activity.

This week at Leicester Crown Court, Nicholas Taylor changed his plea to guilty in relation to a charge of abuse against a child under 16.

The offence related to occasions where Taylor had fired a “crossbow” at one of his victims. The boy was also made to stand “in front of a dart board”.

“Nicholas Taylor would throw darts at him. If he moved he could be hit,” said prosecutor David Herbert QC.

The 12-member jury was told they must find Taylor guilty on this count, though he still denies 102 offences.

Earlier in the trial, the court heard how the 47-year-old could be “controlling” and “manipulative”.

Mr Herbert QC said when police first entered his Pitstone Road house in 2006, officers discovered a baseball bat on the bed inscribed with the words “the pain”.

His wife, Joan, admitted to working as a prostitute under police interview, which the prosecution alleges was encouraged by her husband.

She has already pleaded guilty to four counts of indecency with a child, four counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and one count of cruelty to a person under 16 years.

The trial continues.

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