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Murder find shocks home owners

Honey, Doesn't That Look Like Our House?


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LONDON, England (Reuters) -- A British couple who discovered their home had been the scene of a grisly murder as they watched a crime documentary on television, failed in a legal claim that the previous owners should have informed them.

Alan and Susan Sykes said they would never have bought the 83,000 pound ($155,000) house in Wakefield, West Yorkshire in December 2000 if they had known that 15 years earlier a doctor had murdered his 13-year-old adopted daughter there and dismembered her body into more than 100 pieces.

The couple, who put the house on the market soon after they learned about their home's gruesome history, were attempting to claim damages from sellers James and Alison Taylor-Rose.

In dismissing the case at the Court of Appeal on Friday, Lord Justice Peter Gibson said: "I feel a great deal of sympathy for this couple. But we had to decide the case on a dry issue of law."

"I can well understand their horrified reaction at learning their recently purchased house had been the scene of such a gruesome murder, made all the more vivid by the details given in the documentary," he said.

"There was also the possibility parts of the victim's body might still lie undiscovered in this house," he added.

The Sykeses struggled to find a buyer and ultimately lost 8,000 pounds on the sale.

The couple say that when the Taylor-Roses were asked: "Is there any other information which you think the buyer may have a right to know?" on a legal form, they answered "No."

Afterwards lawyers for the Sykeses issued a statement in which they said: "We are extremely disappointed with the decision, but we felt it was right and appropriate to take the case to court."

An original claim for damages was also rejected by a county court judge.

University dental biologist Dr Samson Perera was convicted of murder in 1985. Parts of his victim's body were found hidden under the floorboards, in pot plants and a coffee jar at the house, while others were never traced.



Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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