Last time parents saw daughter is described at trial

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THE last time the parents of a woman murdered 33 years ago saw their daughter has been described at a trial into her killing.

Paul Taylor, 60, of Valentine Close in Fareham, is on trial for the murder of Sally McGrath near Peterborough in 1979.

Statements from Joseph and Christina McGrath, Miss McGrath’s parents, were read to the jury at Chelmsford Crown Court.

They were taken by police officers in March 1980 shortly after Miss McGrath’s body was found in woodland.

The couple described how they last saw their 22-year-old daughter on Wednesday, July 11, 1979, when she went round for lunch at their home in Woodston, Peterborough.

Mrs McGrath said: ‘I came home from lunch and Sally was there and she got a cup of tea ready for me.

‘Sally, Joseph and I had cups of tea and then I got ready to go back to work.

‘As I left the house I walked down the garden path with Sally and she told me she was going to go into Peterborough that afternoon to sign on

‘Her last words to me were: “Cheerio, see you tonight”.

‘But when I got home from work at 4.45pm Sally was not there.

‘I went to bed around midnight and Sally was still not home.

‘I left the living room light on and the front door unlocked.

‘The next day Sally had still not come home.’

She added: ‘I went to speak to some friends about what had happened and one of them said they had seen Sally in Peterborough.

‘Sally had stayed away from home but would always let us know, she never stayed out a second night.

‘She had no current boyfriend. She’d had boyfriends but was never serious with any of them.’

Mr McGrath said: ‘Sally was a quiet girl who saw no harm in anyone.

‘Sally would never stay away from home without telling us her whereabouts.

‘She was very close to her mother.’

Taylor, a former soldier, was questioned at the time but never charged. He moved from Peterborough to Fareham more than 20 years ago.

He was arrested last year after police reopened the investigation.

He denies murder as well as three counts of rape, one attempted rape, a serious sexual assault and an indecent assault.