'Sexual predator' Paul Taylor found guilty of 1979 murder of Sally McGrath

 

A man described as a “sexual predator” has been found guilty of a 1979 murder and five attacks on other women.

Sally McGrath, 22, was found naked in a shallow grave in woodland near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, in March 1980 after vanishing in July 1979.

Her killer could not be found despite a major police investigation.

Former soldier and builder Paul Taylor, 60, originally from Peterborough and now of Valentine Close, Fareham, Hampshire, was arrested last year following a cold case review.

Today, at Chelmsford Crown Court, a jury found him guilty of murder following 23 hours of deliberation.

He was found guilty of three counts of rape, one attempted rape and a serious sexual assault, which were all committed in the months leading up to Miss McGrath's murder.

Mr Justice Owen told Taylor: "You have finally been brought to justice and you will now serve life in prison."

He commended Cambridgeshire Police detectives for solving the mystery, which officers at the time had failed to bring to court despite the force's biggest pre-Soham investigation.

Taylor will be sentenced tomorrow morning.

Cambridgeshire Police said it would now investigate possible further sex attacks committed by Taylor during the years he escaped justice.

Detective Superintendent Jeff Hill, who led the new investigation, said: "As a result of this inquiry, we have already considered what other offences may have been committed by Taylor.

"Given the nature of the offending, there is every chance that similar crimes have occurred that we just quite simply don't know about."

Taylor denied the charges, saying that all of the sexual incidents either did not happen or were consensual.

He claimed there were many other people who could have killed Miss McGrath.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Karim Khalil told the court Taylor was married at the time of the 1979 offences.

He openly slept with other women, regularly going for "quickies", but insisted in a police interview that the relationships were always consensual.

Describing Taylor as a "sexual predator", Mr Khalil added: "In the 1970s he was a reasonably good-looking and physically strong young man. He was brimming with confidence and had the capacity to be an engaging flirt and a ladies' man.

"But if he did not have his own way, he had the capacity to become violent very quickly.

"He used this violence to force young women into submission or simply have his way with them."

A statement was read outside court on behalf of Miss McGrath's parents, Christine and Joe, and the rest of the family.

It said: "We would like to express our thanks to Detective Superintendent Jeff Hill and all of the current members of his cold case team for their hard work, dedication and professionalism."

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Hill described Taylor as a "predatory sex offender" who brutally murdered a young woman with "her entire life ahead of her".

He said: "I would like to pay tribute to Sally's family who have retained their optimism and dignity throughout this entire process.

"I hope that the pain of the last 30 years will now, to some extent, start to subside.

"I would like to say that Taylor deserves every second of his imprisonment for the misery he has brought to so many lives.

"I pray that Sally can now rest in peace and hope that the message to anyone who is aware of this investigation is clear - the British police do not forget."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss