MELFORT, Sask. - Saskatchewan farmer Jim Taylor says he knew his marriage was in trouble, but he didn't at first believe Mounties when they told him that his wife was planning to kill him.
He was even more stunned when officers alleged that a man she was having an affair with was in on the scheme — and that the pair were also plotting to kill that man's wife.
"They had to tell me about three times," Taylor, 51, said Wednesday from his farm west of Melfort.
"We're a good Christian community so it's really shocking to hear all this stuff."
Angela Nicholson of Melfort and Curtis Vey of Wakaw, both 49, are charged with conspiring to commit murder. They have not yet applied for bail and are to appear in Melfort court on Aug. 29.
Taylor admits he and his wife, married almost 25 years, have had a rocky relationship for awhile. She left the family farm about three years ago and moved into a small house in town.
He thought she was seeing other men, but had no idea she was apparently having an affair with Vey — another farmer who was also acting as a financial consultant for Taylor's farm operation.
From police, Taylor said he has learned that Vey and his Vey's wife, Brigitte, were still living together in nearby Wakaw and that Brigitte Vey suspected her husband was seeing another woman.
Police told Taylor that Brigitte Vey tipped them to an alleged murder plot in which Vey's wife was going to die in a house fire and Taylor would die of an overdose on Halloween.
After RCMP received the tip, Taylor said police told him, they tapped the pair's phones and went through their emails. They found a will by which his wife would inherit the farm, Taylor said.
He said he hadn't done up a will and planned on leaving his land to the couple's two grown daughters.
Vey and his wife have three children, Taylor said. And that's the hardest thing — realizing children are involved and trying to help them through their heartbreak.
"It's going to be very hard to forgive (my wife), but I just hope my girls can forgive her. It's just a little unreal right now."
Mounties wouldn't confirm details, other than to say the charges stem from an affair.
"There was an extramarital affair, which cumulated into reasonable and probable grounds, leading to the planning of a murder," said Cpl. Rob King.
Nicholson's lawyer, Ron Piche, stressed that none of the allegations has been proven in court. He described his client as a well-respected woman who goes to church and has no criminal record.
"She's eager for her day in court," Piche said. "People should be careful about arriving at any conclusions before both sides of the story are heard."
He said in order to prove a conspiracy charge, the Crown must show there was an agreement and intent, "some seriousness behind the talk."
"We often hear other cases where the defence put forward was, 'Well, I wasn't serious.' That may or may not be what applies here."
Curtis Vey's lawyer didn't return a message seeking comment.
— By Chris Purdy in Edmonton