Wakefield prisoner given full life term for series of sex attacks

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A murderer who sparked one of West Yorkshire’s biggest ever manhunts has today been given a full life term after admitting 16 additional offences including rape.

John Taylor, 62, who is already serving time in HMP Wakefield, admitted killing Leeds schoolgirl Leanne Tiernan in July 2002.

Leanne’s body had been found in the August of the previous year and the discovery sparked one of the largest ever operations by West Yorkshire Police bring the person responsible to justice.

Today, Taylor was given an additional life sentence for a offences committed against five different victims.

The first offence happened on December, 22, 1977 when the 19-year-old female victim was walking to work. She was grabbed from behind by Taylor, threatened with a knife and then raped. Taylor was charged with rape, attempted buggery and possession of an offensive weapon – a knife.

The second victim, who was 27 at the time, was walking in the woods with three young children when, on September 23, 1982, she was approached by Taylor who held a knife to her throat. Taylor was charged with attempted indecent assault and possession of an offensive weapon – a knife.

A seven-year-old girl was Taylor’s third victim. She was kidnapped and indecently assaulted in January or February 1984. Taylor was charged with unlawfully taking and carrying away (kidnap) and three counts of indecent assault.

In July 1987 a 26-year-old woman was cycling to work when she was grabbed and dragged to a footpath by Taylor who had a knife in his hand.

He forced her face into the ground, breaking her nose and then forced her down the footpath at knifepoint and then stabbed her twice before raping her. Taylor was charged with buggery, possession of an offensive weapon – a knife, actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm.

Taylor was charged with rape, attempting to commit buggery and indecent assault against his fifth victim.

West Yorkshire Police’s ‘Cold Case’ team – Operation Recall – led the investigation into Taylor.

Detective Superintendent Jim Dunkerley said: “Today’s sentencing is the culmination of a long and detailed investigation into Taylor and his offending and I want to pay tribute to my team for their work in bringing Taylor to justice.

“Hopefully today’s sentences bring a degree of comfort to his victims who have been through a horrific ordeal. Thankfully Taylor didn’t subject them to a trial so they didn’t have to give evidence.

“I do twant to pay tribute to them for bravely coming forward and telling police what happened to them. Without them coming forward we wouldn’t have been able to bring Taylor to justice for these offences.

“I also want to make a promise to victims that the commitment of my team is to them and to achieving justice on their behalf.

“Even if you were the victim of a serious crime decades ago we will do all we can to bring the offender or offenders to justice.”

Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.