Judge dismisses torture charges against former Liberian president’s ex-wife

The ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor will walk free from custody after a senior judge dismissed torture charges against her.

University lecturer Agnes Taylor, 54, was charged in 2017 with a string of offences alleged to have taken place in 1990 during the West African country’s civil war.

She denied wrongdoing and was due to stand trial in January next year, but following legal argument, Mr Justice Sweeney dismissed all the charges and the prosecution indicated they would not appeal.

Ms Taylor, wearing a green jumper and pearl necklace, appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday via video link from Bronzefield women’s prison to hear the ruling .

Agnes Reeves Taylor court case
Charges against Agnes Taylor have been dropped (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Previously the Old Bailey heard one count related to the alleged torture of a pastor’s wife by tying her up and her witnessing the shooting of her two children.

A further three of the seven torture charges related to “severe pain or suffering” allegedly inflicted on a 13-year-old boy.

A conspiracy to torture charge related to allegations of rapes by National Patriotic Front of Liberia forces in a village.

Ms Taylor, from Dagenham, east London, previously worked as a lecturer and head of department at Coventry University.

She had been accused of committing the crimes while serving as a public official or acting in an official capacity.

Charles Taylor was Liberia’s president from 1997 to 2003. Up to 250,000 people are believed to have been killed during civil conflict between 1989 and 2003.

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