AFTER being unanimously convicted by a jury, Maggie Smythe’s murderer, Christopher Taylor has been jailed for life and told he will spend at least 24 years behind bars. His brother, Brian Ottley, was imprisoned for nine years for helping him dispose of her body parts.

A JUDGE has described Christopher Taylor’s attempts to dispose of 29-year-old Maggie Smythe’s body as “nothing less than grotesque, heartless and chilling”.

After luring his former partner to the derelict Red Bridge Tavern with the lie that he was about to leave the area, 40-year-old Taylor had sex with her and killed her.

Then he cut up her body and, with the help of 30-year-old Ottley, disposed of a leg, arm and her head elsewhere.

The leg was found by a dog walker on the former Longsight golf course on March 18, but despite an extensive search, her head and arm have never been located.

Police discovered part of Maggie’s body hidden under rubble behind the former pub on February 1, six days after her worried family had reported her missing.

“Fishing maggots had been poured into the grave, presumably in an attempt to accelerate the decomposition of the remaining torso,” said Judge Walsh.

Because of the absence of her head it is not possible to know exactly how she died, but her hair was found on a wine bottle Taylor had taken to the scene and it is thought that he dismembered her using a saw found behind the pub.

Taylor pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the day his trial was due to start, claiming that she had died during an argument.

After receiving text messages from Taylor Maggie had left her Swinside Road, Breightmet, home in the early hours of the morning and was seen on CCTV walking towards the Red Bridge Tavern with him.

Taylor, a builder, had previously worked on the building which was being converted into apartments.She was never seen alive again.

After admitting to police that he had killed her Taylor caused them to carry out an extensive search of reed beds at The Bunk lodge, claiming he had disposed of Maggie’s head there.

But there was no evidence that he had ever buried anything at the site and the prosecution alleged that he never intended them to find it as it could provide evidence about how he killed her.

Judge Walsh told him: “You are the only person who knows exactly how and in what circumstances Maggie met her death, but you have declined to offer any explanation.

“You disposed of the head in an attempt to cover up for what you had done and in so doing not only added significantly to the deep sense of trauma felt by the bereaved but also frustrated the ability of the police the exact mechanism by which death occurred.”

Taylor, who was grinning as he was led into and out of the dock, was told he had lied persistently and demonstrated “an enduring lack of remorse” over the death of bus station cleaner Maggie.

Judge Walsh told him that he had desecrated her body in an appalling manner after murdering her and his attempts to conceal his crime “show a callousness and cold indifference which is almost impossible to comprehend”.

There were shouts of “I love you” from his family as he was taken down to the cells to begin his sentence after being told he will spend at least 24 years in jail before being eligible to apply for parole and will spend the rest of his life on licence.

Ottley, who lived with his brother in Greenroyd Avenue, Breightmet, did not kill Maggie, but helped him dispose of the body.

His barrister, Ian McMeekin, told they court that Ottley had nothing against Maggie, who had been kind to him, but he had had been bullied by Taylor.

The court heard that Ottley had helped his brother for three days at a time when he knew police and Maggie's close- family were desperately looking for her.

“Your involvement was intended to assist Taylor in his attempt to evade detection for an unlawful killing,” Judge Walsh told him.

“You knew that he had killed Maggie and must at least have known that the body had been dismembered.”

As Ottley was led from the dock after being sentenced to nine years in prison, a commotion broke out between members of his and Maggies’ families, with insults being hurled and the judge decided to clear the public gallery.

Speaking following the sentencing, Det Insp David Meeney, from Greater Manchester Police’s Major Investigations Team said Taylor and Ottley had deprived Maggie’s family of the right to grieve properly.

He said: ““Maggie was taken from her family in the most cruel and callous way imaginable at the hands of Taylor, whose actions were nothing short of monstrous.

“Taylor and Ottley consistently manipulated the truth to cover up what happened to Maggie and where they buried her remains. They have stripped Maggie’s family of the opportunity to lay her properly to rest, which has caused the family unbearable heartache.”

“These men have caused irreparable damage and pain to Maggie’s family, but I hope her loved ones get some comfort in knowing that Taylor and Ottley are now behind bars where they belong.

“We are doing everything we can to find Maggie’s remains, but I would appeal to anyone out there with information to get in touch with us as soon as possible on 0161 856 9908.”

Following the hearing Maggie’s family also issued a new black and white picture of her and paid tribute to her.

In a statement they said: “Maggie was a loving mother and aunt to her three children and niece. She was bright and bubbly and a best friend to all of us.

“She would do anything for anyone. Maggie would give you her last pound if you needed it. Maggie had her whole life ahead of her. Her loss has changed our lives forever and is something we will never get over.

“We visit the places Maggie used to go. We all still expect her to walk through the door and be the loveable girl that we all knew and loved.

“Her loss has left a hole in all our lives but our memories of Maggie will never be taken away.

“We will cherish them forever.”