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Dagenham based ex-wife of former Liberian president denies torture charges

PUBLISHED: 09:31 11 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:31 11 October 2018

Court artist sketch of Agnes Taylor, the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court earlier this year. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA .

Court artist sketch of Agnes Taylor, the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court earlier this year. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA .

PA Archive/PA Images

The ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor has denied a string of torture charges, including one relating to a woman witnessing the shooting of her two children while she was tied up.

Agnes Taylor, 52, who now lives in Dagenham, is also accused of conspiring to use rape to torture women during the west African country’s civil war in 1990.

Another allegation states that the former university lecturer was involved in the torture of a child, who was tied to a tree and witnessed the shooting of others.

Taylor appeared at the Old Bailey on Wednesday by videolink from Bronzefield prison, in Surrey.

She spoke to confirm her name before entering not guilty pleas to eight charges, including one of conspiracy to torture and seven of torture, which can be reported for the first time.

- Count one relates to alleged rapes by National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) forces in a village in Liberia.

- Counts two to four relate to the alleged torture of a 13-year-old boy by severely beating him.

- Count five relates to the alleged torture of a man by severely beating him.

- Count six relates to the alleged torture of another man by shooting him in the leg.

- Count seven relates to the alleged torture of an unnamed child, who was allegedly tied to a tree and witnessed the shooting of others.

- Count eight relates to the alleged torture of a “pastor’s wife” in 1990 by tying her up and her witnessing the shooting of her two children.

All of the alleged offences are said to have been committed while Taylor was “a public official or person acting in an official capacity”.

Each of the seven torture counts states her alleged actions were “in the performance or purported performance of her official duties”.

Taylor, who previously worked as a lecturer and head of department at Coventry University, faces trial in January next year before Mr Justice Sweeney.

The defendant, of Kitchener Road, remains in custody.

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