Father of the bride killer Terry Rodgers' inquest opens

THE last days of a father who killed his newly-wed daughter before starving himself to death were revealed in detail for the first time on Monday.

Terry Rodgers sparked a massive police manhunt that made him Britain's most wanted man when he blasted Chanel Taylor with a shotgun.

He later confessed to killing the 23-year-old hairdresser just seven weeks after proudly giving her away at her marriage to her husband Lee.

But he denied a charge of murdering her and grimly set about killing himself while waiting over a year and a half for his case to come to trial.

Rodgers (57) was condemned for 'cheating justice' after he finally succeeded in his aim in February 2006 at the end of a lengthy hunger-strike.

On Monday, an inquest into his death was told how he repeatedly expressed his wish to end his life while being held in custody at Lincoln Prison.

He briefly resumed eating during a spell in a psychiatric unit, where he was treated for depression, but refused again after returning to jail.

He managed to stay alive for so long only because he insisted on drinking three litres of orange juice a day, a hearing in Lincoln was told.

Lincoln coroner Roger Atkinson revealed how the father-of-three was kept under constant observation in a cell with a transparent door.

Despite becoming increasingly weak, he refused to be transferred to a hospital - because he knew he wouldn't be allowed to smoke there.

He eventually died on the afternoon of 25th February 2006, just four hours after he was at last moved to Lincoln County Hospital.

Home Office pathologist Dr Louay al-Alousi said Rodgers weighed less than seven stone, adding: "His eyes were sunken. He was emaciated."

A post mortem showed the former security firm boss, of Huthwaite, died from bronchial pneumonia as a result of 'severe undernutrition'.

In keeping with Prison Service policy, Rodgers had been asked to sign a document to declare he understood the consequences of his actions.

He wrote: "I am resolute in my determination to die. I have thought long and hard about it. I have made clear my intention is to be with my daughter."

The inquest was told his case was even the subject of a High Court hearing in 2005, when a judge ruled he had the mental capacity to refuse food.

Mrs Justice Barron said in her judgment: "I cannot believe any person, being wholly rational, could take a decision to end his life this way.

"But I am not being asked to make a decision on the rationality. I am simply being asked if he has the mental capacity to take that decision.

"The fact that the decision is repugnant, in the sense that it is abhorrent to most normal human beings, does not make it unlawful."

Police began the hunt for Rodgers in July 2004 after Chanel was found dead shortly after she and Lee, 22, returned from a Mexican honeymoon.

Only weeks earlier, as the father of the bride, he had journeyed with her in a vintage limousine to give her away at a register office ceremony.

After he later separated from his wife Ann, Chanel allowed him to move into the terraced home that the newly-weds shared in Huthwaite.

By then the family had already endured years of violent abuse at Rodgers' hands - made worse following the collapse of his security business.

On the day of the killing he blasted Chanel once in the back and twice in the head before hiding the weapon - a sawn-off shotgun - under her bed.

He was caught a fortnight later after a massive police search combed acres of woodland.

Rodgers later denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He never revealed why he killed Chanel.

The inquest continues.