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Retired detective's relief as killer sentenced after 33-year hunt

Former soldier Paul Taylor has begun a life sentence for the brutal murder of a young Peterborough woman in 1979, bringing to an end decades of anguish for her family.

For one retired Cambridgeshire detective, the 33-year hunt for the killer of Sally McGrath has brought relief too, finally closing the case on the only murder he was unable to solve.

Judge says there was 'sexual element' to murder of Sally McGrath

Paul Taylor, of Valentine Close, Fareham, Hampshire, was also found guilty of three rapes, an attempted rape and a serious sexual offence.

Today, at Chelmsford Crown Court, Judge Mr Justice Owen said: "I think it is clear there was a sexual element to the murder of Sally McGrath.

"The evidence revealed a pattern of behaviour in which you lured your victims in under the pretence of giving them a lift home.

"You then drove them to a rural or isolated area and forced yourself upon them.

"Your predatory sexual attacks took place over 30 years ago but your victims have been left scarred for life.

"I have no doubt the brutal murder of Sally McGrath followed the same pattern and resulted from her resistance to your sexual demands."

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Parents thank police for bringing daughter's murderer to justice

Sally McGrath Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Police read a statement from Miss McGrath's parents, Christine and Joe, and the rest of the family. "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."

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Prosecutor describes Taylor as a sexual predator

Prosecutor Karim Khalil told the court Paul 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.

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." Karim Khalil, Prosecuting barrister

– Karim Khalil, Prosecuting barrister

Detectives say killer could have carried out other attacks

Cambridgeshire Police say they will now investigate possible further sex attacks committed by Paul Taylor during the years he escaped justice.

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."

– Detective Superintendent Jeff Hill, Cambridgeshire Police

Taylor guilty after 23 hours of jury deliberation

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

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