Sally McGrath murder: Paul Taylor life sentence appeal rejected
- 20 December 2013
- From the section Cambridgeshire
A "sexual predator" jailed for life for murdering a Peterborough woman more than 30 years ago has failed to have his name cleared at an appeal court.
Former soldier Paul Taylor, 60, of Fareham, Hampshire, was found guilty last December of killing Sally McGrath, 22, in March 1980.
Taylor told the Court of Appeal his conviction was "unsafe" because the offences took place so long ago.
However, the judges concluded the trial was "fair" and the verdict "safe".
Miss McGrath's body was found in a shallow grave in woodland at Castor Hanglands in Cambridgeshire.
She was last seen alive with Taylor on 11 July 1979 at a Peterborough hotel.
Taylor was charged with Miss McGrath's murder following a three-year cold case investigation after earlier inquiries had failed to gather enough evidence against him.
He was found guilty after an eight-week trial and sentenced to life with a minimum of 18 years.
He was also convicted of three counts of rape, one attempted rape and a serious sexual assault relating to three other women in the months leading up to Miss McGrath's murder.
Sentencing him, Judge Mr Justice Owen told Taylor he had carried out "predatory sexual attacks".
Taylor took his case to the Court of Appeal last month in an attempt to have his conviction quashed.
Rejecting his appeal, Lord Justice Pitchford said none of Taylor's complaints affected the safety of the jury's guilty verdicts.
"We are left with the firm conviction that the trial was fairly and properly conducted, that the verdicts of the jury were amply justified by the evidence, and that they are safe," he said.
"For this reason, the appeal against conviction is dismissed."