Trial day one: A violent sexual predator sexually assaulted a teenager just yards from where it is alleged he later dumped the body of Peterborough woman Sally Anne McGrath, a court has heard today (Friday).
Former soldier Paul Taylor (60) originally from Peterborough and now living in Fareham, Hampshire is accused of raping a 17-year-old woman at Castor Hanglands on June 28, 1979 - just a few days before Miss McGrath went missing.
The body of the 22-year-old was found in a shallow grave eight months after she was last seen at the Bull Hotel, in Peterborough.
A post mortem revealed she had been sexually assaulted and had received blows to her head which killed her.
Taylor denies murdering Miss McGrath, as well as two rapes and a serious sexual assault on another woman, the attempted rape of a third woman, and the rape of a fourth woman.
Karim Khalid, prosecuting, told Chelmsford Crown Court: “Back in the 1970s the defendant could be described as good looking and physically strong.
“He was brimming with self-confidence, and was an engaging flirt - a ladies’ man, if you like. But if things did not go his way, he could be violent.”
Mr Khalid said it was alleged that Taylor would ‘switch’ between two personalities, from the violent and aggressive predator to a charming ‘jack the lad’ character once he had been fulfilled.
Miss McGrath went missing on July 11, 1979, after reports she was seen drinking with Taylor and two other people at the Bull Hotel.
Taylor, who was on bail at the time for a burglary, failed to sign on at the police station that day, which he was required to do. His wife also told police he was breaking his curfew on that day, and just a few days later he advertised his blue van for sale in the paper.
But the court heard that Taylor allegedly carried out a number of sexual assaults before Sally McGrath went missing.
Mr Khalid told the court the first incident was claimed to have happened on March 15, 1979 when Taylor met his first alleged victim, aged 23 at the time.
He said the pair met at the Bull Hotel in Westgate, and Taylor invited her to go to a different pub. She agreed, and the pair set off in a red Princess car.
But when they got to the A1, the woman said she wanted to go home, and called her friends, who agreed to meet up with her at 7.30pm back in Peterborough.
However, she said Taylor took the car across fields to a remote car park, where he raped and sexually assaulted her.
She told police she had cried ‘Oh God help me’, but Taylor responded ‘God won’t help you, no one will help you,’ before calling her a prostitute, whore and slut. and pouring whiskey over her.
The woman even lied to get him off her, saying she was pregnant, and a lesbian, but he carried on.
Later that night he took her to the Haycock Hotel, at Wansford, near Peterborough, where he raped her again while they stayed the night.
The second woman told police she was assaulted by Taylor on April 8, 1979. The woman, aged 24 at the time, said she knew Taylor, and he had offered her a lift home after they both attended a Christening.
He took her to a layby in the city, where she claims he attempted to rape her, after calling her names including slapper and tart.
However, she managed to shake him off, and he pushed her out of the car.
The next incident is alleged to have happened on June 28, when a 17-year-old woman got into a blue Bedford van with Taylor and his neighbour, Paul Stringer.
Taylor said he had to pick up a part for a boat, and started to drive out of the city. He pulled over at Castor Hanglands, where he told Mr Stringer to leave the couple alone for half an hour.
The woman told police he then forced her to the ground, ripped off her shirt and raped her - however, Mr Stringer returned early, and told police he found a grinning Taylor on top of the woman.
Mr Khalid said the three then drove back to Peterborough, with Taylor even buying an ice cream and new T-shirt for the woman.
He also told jurors there were inconsistencies in interviews he gave to police in the 1970s and 1980s, compared to interviews he gave to police when he was arrested in November 2010.
Mr Khalid warned jurors not to let emotions cloud their judgement, said: “We say he has escaped justice for too long.”
Taylor, who Mr Khalid said has been found not guilty of two other alleged sexual offences in the 1970s and 1980s, denies all charges against him.
The trial continues.