28th March 1932

Jersey major starts his prison sentence

Major Arthur Taylor, who was living in St Helier at the time of his arrest, woke up in prison at the start of his first full day in custody, having been sentenced to 21 months for fraud. Taylor, who wasn’t short of cash, had invested in shares, particularly in gold mining and rubber plantation companies, but was charged with having bought them under false names to avoid paying tax on his dividends. His commissioning agent, who had formerly worked for the Inland Revenue, was convicted of having conspired with him and sentenced to six months’ hard labour.

However, Taylor’s wife, Kate, was found not guilty despite having admitted to posing as a woman called Helen, which according to her testimony she had done under duress, after Taylor had threatened her with violence. This treatment helped get Taylor’s conviction as his wife volunteered to testify against him.

Although Kate was granted bail, Major Taylor was not, after some of the witnesses had claimed that they would not feel safe if he was at liberty.

Names and identities

The case had more layers than it initially seemed, for Arthur Taylor had claimed seven years earlier that an unidentified body pulled out of a river was that of his sister, whom he claimed was called Kate Taylor – the name of his wife. Moreover, Arthur Taylor assumed the persona of a man called Harry Watson during his time in Jersey, further muddying the waters. He claimed that the woman he said was his sister was in fact his half sister who had been drowned by some men who were blackmailing him. As the body would never be able to dispute what he said, he would then be able to claim that she was one of the fictional aliases under which he had been claiming tax relief on his share dividends.


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