'I want to do him justice' - Mandy to do Great North Run in memory of hero uncle

The niece of the victim of of one of Leeds's most shocking murders is due to take part in the Great North Run in memory of her uncle.

By Richard Beecham
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:45 am

Insp Barry Taylor was a police officer who was killed on duty at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley in 1970. Insp Taylor and night watchman Ian Riley lost their lives when they were each shot by a burglar.

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Mandy Cook is the niece of Insp Taylor, and is now raising funds for the Blue Lamp Foundation, a charity which provides financial support to injured emergency service workers.

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Mandy Cook at the memorial in Sunny Bank Mills back in 2020.

Mandy said: "I saw how it affected my mum - she could never talk about it without crying, so when it got to the 50th anniversary, I was meant to be doing the Great North Run, which got cancelled because of Covid.

"I wanted to do him justice."

Barry and Ian were simply doing their jobs when they each encountered burglar Neil George Adamson on the night of February 15. Adamson turned a sawn-off shotgun on them before going on the run, sparking a two-day man hunt involving dozens of police officers.

Adamson was later sentenced to life imprisonment, with a recommended minimum term of 30 years.

Coverage from the Yorkshire Evening Post at the time details the murders and the police investigation that followed.

The front page on February 16, 1970, included a first person account by engineer James Edward Hare, who lived in a house on the mill site.

He wrote: "When I got to about 50 yards from the main gate, I saw a police inspector running towards the gate. Then I heard a shot… the Inspector staggered maybe five or six yards and them slumped face downwards on the ground. At this time I was around 10 yards behind him and saw nothing of the gunman.

"I went to the Inspector whom I now know to be Mr Taylor to see if I could render any help. I shone my torch on him and saw he was bleeding from the nose and mouth but was still just alive."

In a piece which ran on the day after the murder, Barry's widow Marjorie Taylor described how she had been woken at 3.30am that day by officers knocking at the door.

Sitting in the living room with her three-year-old son and four-month-old daughter, she said: “We have been here only three weeks, and I never expected anything like that around here. It seems so quiet."

Her husband was described as having had a bright future ahead of him and one of the youngest inspectors on the West Yorkshire force.

Mrs Taylor told the reporter her son had asked if his daddy was at home, adding: "I said he has gone away for a long time and he thinks he is on another course. He is too young to understand properly what has happened.”

A memorial service was held at Sunny Bank Mills back in 2020 to commemorate Barry and Ian.

Mandy, who now works in fraud detection, was a police officer herself until she had to retire due to an injury suffered on duty back in 2000. She said the Blue Lamp Foundation is a cause close to her heart.

She said: "So many people have no respect for the police not, so they don't care what they do to them. It's not just police, it's the ambulance and fire service - I believe it's getting worse for them as well with assaults."

So how confident is she about the run?

"I have done it twice before," she said. "So I am confident about it. Training is all going to plan. It's another long run day tomorrow morning as soon as I get up!"