Murderer fails in bid to have his sentence quashed

A custody picture of Paul Taylor

A custody picture of Paul Taylor

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A SEXUAL predator serving life in prison for murdering a woman 30 years ago has had his appeal against the conviction refused.

Paul Taylor, from Fareham, appeared in court yesterday as he attempted to argue that because his offences happened so long ago, the evidence could not be relied upon.

Sally McGrath

Sally McGrath

The 61-year-old former soldier was jailed for life in December last year for the brutal murder of 22-year old Sally Ann McGrath, from Peterborough, in March 1980.

Taylor, of Valentine Close, was sentenced to life, to serve a minimum of 18 years, after a two-month trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He was also convicted of three counts of rape, attempted rape, buggery and indecent assault.

The offences related to three different women and all took place in the months leading up to Miss McGrath’s murder in 1979.

Taylor, who lived in Peterborough up until the 1980s, launched an appeal against his convictions at London’s Criminal Appeal Court in November, 
urging top judges to overturn them.

His lawyers argued that Taylor’s convictions were based largely on circumstantial evidence, supported by witness testimonies that should never have been put before the jury.

These included using evidence of murder confessions that Taylor had made while in prison for separate offences.

They also included evidence from two women who Taylor had previously been acquitted of committing sexual offences against.

Taylor also felt that he had not had a fair trial due to the lengthy passage of time up until the hearing.

At a five-minute hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday Taylor’s appeal against his conviction was dismissed.

Judges Lord Justice Pitford, Mr Justice Mitting and Judge Collier, compiled a lengthy report into the case and concluded that his trial had been ‘fairly conducted’.

They said: ‘We have surveyed the major part of the evidence, the judge’s decisions upon the admissibility of evidence and the summing-up because a trial of this seriousness well over 30 years after the events which it concerned did, we are satisfied, raise important issues of fairness for consideration.

‘At the conclusion of our examination of the grounds we are left with the firm conviction that the trial was fairly and properly conducted, and that the verdicts of the jury were justified by the evidence and are safe.’

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