Lindsey Allison turned to her brother for support after her son was brutally murdered – only to find he had passed away too.
The mum was desperate for Nathan Costello to be found guilty of killing her 18-year-old boy, who he'd stabbed 64 times and left a knife embedded into his skull.
So as she prepared for the jury to deliver their verdict, she called out to her brother Niki Exley.
He’d been staying with her after struggling to cope with his nephew's horrific death – but was nowhere to be seen.
Lindsey noticed the shed door was open and instantly knew her brother was dead when she glanced inside.
It was clear he’d taken his own life.
Now, in an exclusive interview, Lindsey, 40, from Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, said: “My son’s killer took two lives when he decided to butcher my son.
“He took the life of my brother too.
“Niki was vulnerable and didn’t know the gruesome details of Taylor’s death until he read about it online during the trial. It pushed him over the edge.
‘'So I had to bury my brother after already burying my son.
“I don’t know what I did to ever deserve that.”
Just days after the suicide, Lindsey sat in court as Nathan Costello was found guilty of murdering her boy.
Looking back, Lindsey described Taylor as the perfect son.
“We were best friends,” she remembered fondly.
“When he was younger he used to put firecrackers under the toilet seat and it would scare the hell out of me.
“But he was so caring to others. Once he came home from school drenched and late.
"I asked him where he’d been and he explained that he’d given his pass to a girl at the bus stop.
“She was crying because she’d forgotten hers.
“It was typical Taylor.”
Taylor once dreamed of being a journalist before studying computer science at university.
He was visiting his mum and little brother, Shae, eight, for the weekend when his life was cut cruelly short.
Lindsey recalled: “He asked me did I fancy watching a movie that night but he later forgot that he had a friend’s party.
“I told him it wasn’t a problem and we’d watch it tomorrow.
“I dyed his hair bright red before he left and he loved it. It was the last time I ever saw him.”
The next morning, Niki, 31, called to say Taylor had been stabbed by an old pal, Nathan Costello, 32.
Despite being older, the pair used to be friends having trained martial arts together.
Taylor went to Costello’s flat the morning after the party in February of last year but was killed in a frenzied attack.
Costello plunged a knife into his victim’s chest, piercing his heart and liver, before stabbing him again and penetrating his skull with the blade.
In total, he was stabbed 64 times, including 40 times to the head.
Recalling arriving at the crime scene, Lindsey said: “A police officer told me Taylor was dead and I just fell to my knees and screamed.
“I looked at my mum in the distance and just yelled ‘he’s dead, he’s dead’ over and over.”
Later, she had to break the news to her only other child, Shae.
She remembered: “I sat him down and said Taylor is in heaven now.
“He asked if that meant he couldn’t see him now and I said ‘you can’t see him but he can see you’.
“He was very brave and had a cry.”
Costello pleaded not guilty and claimed he had no memory of the incident, despite admitting his crime in texts messages to friends after the attack
Meanwhile, Lindsey said she went to autopilot mode until the trial.
She attended each day at Teesside Crown Court to hear the evidence.
But just as the jury began deliberating, Linsdey tragically lost her brother, Niki, last June.
She said: “I said goodnight to him and as usual, he gave me a kiss and said he loved me millions and he’d see me in the morning.
“But then I found him in the shed hours later. I touched his arm and it was freezing cold.
“He was incredibly close with Taylor. They are together now.”
Just five days later, Lindsey sat in court as Costello was convicted of murder.
He was sentenced to life with a minimum of 21 years.
“We struggled to stay quiet when they said the word guilty,” Lindsey said.
“I then read my victim impact statement and explained that my brother had taken his own life just days before.
“My hands were trembling throughout but I got through it.
“I wanted my son’s killer to know how much he had affected my family and changed our lives forever.”
After the sentencing, Det Supt Wayne Fox said: “Nathan Costello took the life of Taylor Black in the most brutal circumstances.
“This was a pre-planned attack. Costello had previously threatened to harm Taylor prior to him being murdered and he proceeded to take his life in the most violent way possible.
“He has shown no remorse for what he has done and has offered no explanation for his actions to any of Taylor’s family.”
Lindsey recently attended her brother’s funeral and is now fully focused on raising Shae.
She added: “He has struggled with what happened. He wets the bed and has nightmares and won’t go anywhere without me.
“I take things a day at a time and just want my boy to be as happy as possible and to have a good life.
“None of this is his fault. I hope one day we can move towards happiness, at the minute it’s still so raw.”
And despite the double tragedy, Lindsey is determined to be happy again.
She said: “It’s amazing where you find strength.
“It doesn’t get easier but you learn to cope a little better. At the start it’s impossible to believe it will.
“I want to remember Niki and Taylor as the special people they were.
“And I know that in the future, Shae and I will make them proud.”
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