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Dagenham based ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor denies torture offences

PUBLISHED: 17:03 03 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:13 03 June 2017

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Agnes Reeves Taylor, the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, London accused of committing torture in the African country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 3, 2017. Taylor, 51, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police's war crimes unit on Thursday over alleged crimes committed during the Liberian civil war between 1989 and 1991. See PA story COURTS Torture. Photo credit should read: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Agnes Reeves Taylor, the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, London accused of committing torture in the African country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 3, 2017. Taylor, 51, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police's war crimes unit on Thursday over alleged crimes committed during the Liberian civil war between 1989 and 1991. See PA story COURTS Torture. Photo credit should read: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

The ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor has denied committing torture in the African country, a court heard.

Agnes Reeves Taylor, 51, of Kitchener Road, Dagenham, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police’s war crimes unit on Thursday over alleged crimes committed during the Liberian civil war between 1989 and 1991.

Reeves Taylor was charged on Friday with four torture offences.

Wearing a grey top under a black blazer, she stood in the dock and confirmed her name, age and address at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning.

She denies any and all involvement, the court heard, and shook her head repeatedly as Prosecutor Karen Jones read out a summary of the case and detailed the charges against her.

Reeves Taylor will formally enter a plea at the Old Bailey later this month, District Judge Michael Snow said as her brother watched on from the courtroom.

The charges against Reeves Taylor, a lecturer and head of department at Coventry university with two daughters living in the UK, all stem from a period between December 23, 1989 and January 1, 1991.

She is accused of agreeing “with others unknown that a course of conduct would be pursued which, if the agreement was carried out in accordance with those intentions would necessarily amount to or involve the commission of the offence of torture”, resulting in the alleged rape of seven women.

The other three charges allege that “as a public official or person acting in an official capacity together with others unknown at Gbarnga, Liberia, intentionally inflicted severe pain or suffering on an individual in the performance or purported performance of her official duties”. Gbarnga served as the headquarters of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front during the conflict.

A final peace agreement led to the election of Taylor as President of Liberia in 1997. A second civil war broke out in 1999 and Taylor was forced into exile in 2003.

Reeves Taylor was remanded in custody and will appear for a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey on June 30.

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