Fareham man’s murder trial nears end

Sally McGrath
Sally McGrath
Police outside Blake's nightclub in Gravesend after a car drove down the alleyway next to the club and crashed into a marquee injuring a number of people. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

NATIONAL: Revellers injured after car driven into nightclub

Have your say

THE jury in the trial of a Fareham man accused of murdering a woman 33 years ago are expected to be sent out to begin their deliberations shortly.

They have been hearing the summing up in the seven-week trial of Paul Taylor, of Valentine Close, who is accused of killing 22-year-old Sally McGrath.

The 60-year-old has been on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, where he is also accused of three counts of rape, one attempted rape, a serious sexual assault and an indecent assault.

The charges relate to three separate women.

Miss McGrath was last seen drinking at the Bull Hotel in Peterborough city centre on July 11, 1979.

Her body was found in nearby woods in March 1980.

The jury has heard how Taylor had chatted up Miss McGrath and got her phone number several weeks before she disappeared.

Paul Stringer, a former neighbour of Taylor’s, said that he had made him clean out his Bedford van shortly after Miss McGrath went missing.

Mr Stringer also said that he had witnessed Taylor rape a young woman in June 1979 in woods close to where Miss McGrath’s body was found.

Letters written by Taylor to his then wife Bev Taylor in March 1980, shortly after Miss McGrath’s body was found, imploring her to burn his clothes have also been heard.

Karim Khalil, prosecuting, said that in the 1970s Taylor had been good looking, physically fit and an ‘engaging flirt’ but he would become violent if he did not get his way.

Taylor, who has declined to give evidence at the trial, denied all counts and insists that the alleged sex attacks were either consensual or never happened.

Orlando Pownall, defending, read statements to the jury from people who knew Miss McGrath.

They claimed she was a casual drug taker, who regularly flirted with men and would visit RAF Alconbury where she was friendly with several airmen.

Brenda Burns, a friend of Miss McGrath’s, claimed in a statement that she had witnessed her arguing with an airman at the base who had then threatened to kill her.

The jury is due to go out this week. (Proceeding)