Murder accused ‘asked wife to burn his clothes’

Hang Thi

‘Concern’ as girl, 16, missing from Fareham

Have your say

THE Fareham man accused of committing a murder more than 30 years ago sent a letter from jail days after her body was found asking his wife to burn his clothes, a court heard.

Paul Taylor, of Valentine Close, is on trial for the murder of Sally McGrath, whose body was found in woodland near Peterborough in 1980.

Three days after the 22-year-old’s body was found Taylor sent a letter to his then wife, Bev Taylor, from where he was in jail for a separate offence.

John Barker, a retired detective involved in the original murder investigation, told the jury at Chelmsford Crown Court he had examined letters sent by Taylor to his wife between November 1979 and March 1980.

Mr Barker read notes he had made from one of the letters postmarked March 4, 1980.

He said: ‘These letters were from Paul Taylor to Bev Taylor and were sent from jail.

‘Paul Taylor says “arrange to get my clothes back from the police and then burn the lot, boots as well”.’

The jury also heard from a woman, a friend of an alleged rape victim, who claimed she had been told that Taylor kept Miss McGrath’s white blouse and her brooch in his van, before burying the blouse in countryside and selling the brooch.

The woman, who cannot be named, said: ‘She told me that he had Sally McGrath’s white blouse in the back of his van.

‘She told me it was Sally McGrath’s blouse and he had wiped her mouth with it.

‘She said he had buried it somewhere near Helpston.

‘She went on to tell me about a brooch belonging to Sally McGrath and said that this had been hidden in the stem of the steering wheel in the van.’

She added that Taylor had later pawned the brooch.

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.

As well as being accused of murder, Taylor is also charged with three counts of rape, one attempted rape and one indecent assault.

The charges relate to different women.

Taylor denies all the charges.