Tania Moore

TO her Irish parents and many friends, show jumper Tania Anne Moore was a beautiful young woman with everything to live for.

Hard-working and devoted to her horses, the university graduate was a popular character in her adopted home in England.

But in 2001, she made a mistake that would prove to be a fatal one.

She fell in love with the man who would wage a savage vendetta against her that would end with her brutal murder.

Alarmingly, during more than a year of harassment at the hands of ex-fiancé Mark Dyche, her repeated appeals for help from the local police would go unanswered.

Indeed, just two weeks before he blasted her point blank in the face, she had confided in her mother: “When I’m dead, something will be done”.

Last week – more than two years after the 26-year-old’s death – something was finally done.

One of the detectives she should have been able to rely on to help her was sacked, another demoted and four more received reprimands after an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation slammed Derbyshire Police’s “abysmal” handling of her case.

Her mother Stella – who moved with husband Pat from Ireland to Derbyshire when Tania was three – said: “I hold the police responsible for failing to protect Tania and ultimately, her death.”

In a damning report, the IPCC concluded “no officer took control and no meaningful investigation took place” and its author admitted: “It has to be acknowledged that there is a possibility that had it not been for the accused officers’ omissions, the death of Tania Moore may have been avoided.”

Back in 2001, when the couple first met in a pub in the east Midlands village of Martson Montgomery where Dyche lived with his mother Mary, Stella had initially had a good impression of her daughter’s new boyfriend.

She thought the then 31-year-old digger driver a “normal and charming man” who seemed devoted to her daughter and regularly gave her flowers and various gifts, including a £600 watch.

At the time, Tania ran a livery business with Stella after having graduated with a degree in equine science.

But while she was outgoing, mixed with a wide circle of friends and was a regular at various hunt balls and riding fixtures, he seemed more withdrawn.

The few people he did associate with tended to be colleagues he met while working day shifts around local farms.

Stella recalled: “Tania was bubbly and fun-loving and would do anything for anyone.

“She was going to be someone. Who was he? A nobody.

“He didn’t seem to have any friends and those people that he did associate with seemed to be a lot younger than him, which struck me as a bit odd.”

Little did she or her daughter know at the time but ten years previously, Dyche had received an 18-month restraining order against him by ex-wife Paula Halliwell, who he split from in June 1993.

He would later be convicted and put on probation for a year for threatening to kill Ms Halliwell.

Oblivious to his past, Tania – who lived with Dyche at his mother’s house for a while – eventually got engaged to him at a young farmer’s ball in January, 2002 but the relationship soon turned sour.

In an extraordinary fit of psychotic pique, he put an unloaded shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger as a way to show her how upset he was about a dress she had worn to a spring ball.

It was to be one of many rows that stemmed from a deep-seated jealousy and possessiveness. Stella recalled: “He knew all the right buttons to press, he was very charming. But towards the end, he used to frighten her.

“But Tania remained courageous, even when she was terrified. I really never thought he would be capable of something like murder.

“I did not know about what had happened with his ex-wife, but then I hear about it in court and everything slots together. ”

By the time – in around February 2003 – Tania called off the engagement, Dyche had even started having an illicit affair with one of her own friends.

The woman – Helen Smith – would not only later lend him money he needed to pay criminals to beat up and rob Tania, but she would also provide him with a false alibi for the night of Tania’s brutal murder.

Following the end of the relationship, furious Dyche began a relentless campaign of hatred that would last more than a year and ultimately end as he warned friends it would – with her death.

Her car was vandalised, a male companion warned his house would be “torched”, she was followed, and malicious texts sent to her included: “My girlfriend wants to see your head on a platter, like the beef on the table tonight”.

At one point, he was sending her as many as 1,000 text messages a month.

A court would later hear that Dyche told friends: “I want her legs breaking”. He also said he wanted to see her eyes gouged out.

Five months after the split, he paid known criminal Craig Stonier, 41, of Meir, Stoke-on-Trent, €2,970 to rob the house Tania lived in with mother Stella and retrieve the €890 Tag Heuer watch he had bought her as a gift.

Other items he wanted Stonier – who recruited fellow criminals, including a 32-year-old police informant called Jason Bloor – to get for him included a mobile phone.

On June 2, 2003, two men turned up at Home Farm at around 9.45am.

Tania was working in the stables at the time and was alerted to their presence by her dog barking.

When she went to investigate, she was met by two men – John Booth, 23, and a 17-year-old. They said their car had broken down and needed to use the phone.

As she turned and led them into the farm house, they launched into a savage attack with fists and a baseball bat one of the thugs had concealed under his coat. She was punched in the face and repeatedly kicked as she lay screaming on the ground.

They left with the watch – which Dyche later sold to a friend – and the mobile phone. Amazingly, although Jason Bloor – the informer – tipped off police that Dyche was behind the attack, he was never interviewed. And despite the fact that he had a conviction for threatening to kill his ex-wife, he continued to hold a gun licence, and keep guns.

Tania told police her attackers had accents from a city in neighbouring Staffordshire, but they didn’t bother circulating their details to that county’s police force.

The inaction then clearly – and understandably – still rankles with Stella. She said: “There were so many people who knew who had done the beating and yet no-one went to the police.

“Dyche would have been in prison now and Tania would be alive. I feel that so many people have let Tania down.

“I feel hatred towards him for taking away something so precious. What was there to gain in taking her life?

“The only thing I can think of is that she was going somewhere and he was nobody.”

To help get over the attack and to just get away for a break, she fled to London to stay with friends – but Dyche appears to have followed her there as she started receiving text messages detailing which shops she was visiting and commenting on the clothes she had bought.

Stella said: “Someone must have been shadowing her. She was petrified.”

One text sent read: “Thought you said you earned enough. I am looking at the screen that’s showing £5,000 (€7,429) on your Visa – you definitely like shopping.”

Other incidents included him threatening to kill her in a pub packed with witnesses on New Year’s Eve 2003 and then – two months later – he beat her up.

Ominously, as he left – he smirked, slowly turned to face her and pointed his hand at her in the shape of a gun and then left.

A friend of his would later tell the jury in his trial how Dyche felt about being dumped by Tania.

Robert Scragg said: “His exact words were ‘I will f****** shoot her, and her mate Char wants the bullet as well. I thought it was just an expression of anger or temper.

“That’s what I took it for. I didn’t really take him seriously.”

Another witness in the trial would recall how Dyche had approached him “for a favour”.

Patrick Docherty said: “He asked me if I would do him a favour and come down to his area to do someone in. An ex-girlfriend had dumped him.

“At first I thought it was a new boyfriend and I asked him whether he wanted the new boyfriend done in, and he said no, it was the girl.

“I told him he was a s*** and he was to get on with it. Everybody gets dumped.”

A woman Dyche met through a lonely hearts column would also say how he talked about Tania constantly.

Christina Osbourne said: “At the beginning, he seemed how anybody would be after a nasty split, but later he was bitter, but not just towards the ex-partner but to the family as well.

“It became clear that he was quite obsessed with it – he went on and on about it. It was clear it was close to hatred.”

When Tania went to speak to Derbyshire Police officers on March 1, 2004, she was told to go away and compile a report on him. This she did, and just days before she was murdered, she delivered it to her local police station. The envelope was only opened the day she was killed – weeks away from her final exam to become an intermediate riding instructor.

On March 29, 2004, Dyche and another man – Colin Colley, an alcoholic – lay in wait for her near her home. They were both dressed in pesticide spraying suits and balaclavas and sat in an unregistered Nissan Bluebird.

When he saw her drive past the spot where he was parked on her way home from teaching riding lessons, Dyche pulled out and followed her. She was just a few hundred yards from her home when he caught up with her, and rammed her Volkswagen Polo off the road.

While she lay trapped and dazed in her crashed car, Dyche jumped out, smashed her side window and blasted her point blank in the face before driving off.

He burnt the Nissan in a nearby stable and then got lover Helen Smith to take him and Colley to an address. During the drive there, Smith asked him what had happened.

He coldly turned to her, the jury in his trail in 2005 would later hear, and said: “You don’t want to know. I was at yours all night”.

Although she did agree to give him his alibi, she later admitted it was “utterly false”.

Dyche would plead not guilty to murder and conspiracy to rob but was convicted at the end of his four-week trail in 2005, and his appeal against his conviction quashed last month.

Tania’s father Pat understandably feels prison is too good for the “animal”.

He said: “Tania will never walk the streets again. Dyche will, however, get three square meals a day and watch TV and get free training.

“The kind of crime he committed deserved capital punishment. May he rot in hell.”

After last week’s IPCC report, Stella said: “I am devastated by the loss of my very beautiful, caring daughter who did not deserve to die.

“Her death has been even more difficult to come to terms with as I feel that if the police had acted differently my daughter would still be alive today.

“I hold the police responsible for failing to protect Tania and ultimately her death. In my view, none of the officers involved should be allowed to remain in the police force.”

Tania’s brother Justin added: “I have lost a beloved sister to whom I was very close.

“Tania put her trust in the police and they let her and us down, which led to her murder by a psychopathic killer well known to the police.”

The family are now to go ahead with their legal action against Derbyshire Police, and can expect to an award – which will go into the memorial fund for disadvantaged children set up in Tania’s name – of between €74,300 and €222,890.

But even as they get ready for their court battle, three more women victims of domestic abuse have come forward as a result of the publicity surrounding Tania’s case.

In all three cases they allege the same thing – that officers from Derbyshire Police failed to act about their concerns.

Two of the women are taking their case to the IPCC.

Tania’s case has led to an overhaul of the way the force now handles domestic violence cases.

It seems such a sad irony that she had to die before – as she put it in the weeks before her brutal murder – something was done.

Published by


Random and Irish.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s