Memorial service held for police inspector and night watchman murdered in Farsley

"You could hear a pin drop apart from me sobbing."

Sunday, 16th February 2020, 5:00 pm

It might have been 50 years since a brutal double murder rocked the tight-knit and peaceful village of Farsley but the emotions remain as strong.

At a memorial service on Saturday it was standing room only at Sunny Bank Mills to celebrate the brave efforts of night watchman Ian Riley and Inspector Barry Taylor, a father-of-two, who were fatally shot at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley on February 15, 1970 during a burglary.

Former police officer Mandy Cook, a niece of Insp Taylor, organised the event which was also backed by the community of Farsley, to mark the half century since one of the most shocking events in the village's history.

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Mandy Cook niece of Insp Barry Taylor who was killed at Sunny Bank Mills pictured at the spot where he was shot.

Mrs Cook said: "There were more turned up than I was expecting. I thought there would be just a handful. We had to go in the board room because of the weather and people were standing in the corridor as they could not fit everybody in. I don't think it could have gone any better. A 15 year-old girl sang 'In the Arms of the Angels' and you could have heard a pin drop apart from me sobbing.

"There was a PC there who worked under my Uncle Barry for two years and he was telling us his stories and there was a detective constable who had done the manhunt to find the killer. I was emotionally drained at the end of it."

The service was conducted by Rev Sue McWhinney.

Mrs Cook, herself a former police officer who now lives in South Shields said even after all this time she learned more about the events of that night.

Paul Colbeck, Ian Riley's nephew speaks at the service.

It transpired that the killer was on the roof of the mill when he fired the shot at Insp Taylor and that the police officer had been running towards him in the face of the gun when, Mrs Cook says, it had previously been thought he was shot in the back.

She added: "I want to keep the memories alive, although not in a bad way but to tell what they did for the community."

Once renovations which are currently taking place at Sunny Bank Mill - now a renovated space for business and community organisations - are completed, it is hoped that two memorial benches - one for Mr Riley and one for Insp Taylor will be installed.

Burglar Neil George Adamson, 31, of Primrose Hill, Pudsey, was arrested two days later when 60 police officers swooped on a terraced house in Colne, Lancashire. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment, with a recommended minimum term of 30 years.

Former Leeds City Police office Mick Grubb who was involved in the manhunt
Rev Sue McWhinney presided over the service.
It was standing room only at the memorial service.