Leeds-born John Taylor enjoyed hunting from an early age. He was known to derive pleasure from inflicting pain on small animals. He would catch and torture rabbits; he had been seen stabbing a fox repeatedly, while out poaching; and also enjoyed clubbing pheasants to death.
Taylor had exhibited problems with his personal relationships although he had been married and had a son, born in 1981, and a daughter, born in 1983.
The divorced Taylor was a parcel delivery worker and lived alone in a terraced home in Cockshott Drive, Bramley, Leeds. His neighbours thought of him as trustworthy and described him as ‘an ordinary bloke’. However, under the surface, the troubled Taylor would advertise for female companions and would often travel across the country to have sex.