MASK OF FEAR

BY DAVID BRUCE POLICE today vowed to keep probing killer John Taylor's past as he began life sentences for two terrifying rapes.

Det Supt Chris Gregg, the officer whose investigation led to Taylor's conviction for the murder of 16-year-old Leanne Tiernan, told the YEP: "We cannot rule out that John Taylor is responsible for other, serious offences, including murder."

The 46-year-old father-of-two was yesterday given two life sentences after he admitted two knifepoint rapes in the 1980s in which he wore a mask.

The judge at Leeds Crown Court deescribed him as a "sexual psychopath".

Relieved

After the hearing Mr Gregg said: "We are still concerned that there may be other victims and families who have been affected by Taylor's actions."

Detectives are still trying to establish whether Taylor is linked to four unsolved murders in West Yorkshire. They fear a 15-inch diamante necklace found in his car at the time of his arrest may belong to another of his victims.

Today Taylor's mother, Margaret, 71, said she was relieved her son had admitted the two rapes.

Three months ago she pleaded with her son through the YEP to come clean over any other crimes he may have committed.

Today she said that she had been told her son had been made aware of the plea she made in the YEP.

Leanne Tiernan was ambushed as she walked home in November 2000. Taylor frogmarched her to his home in Cockshott Drive, Armley, Leeds, and strangled her.

He kept her body in a deep freeze for months before burying her body in a shallow grave. Last year he was given two life sentences for Leanne's kidnap and murder.

Yesterday as the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Norman Jones QC, jailed Taylor for the rapes and said he should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The rapes happened between October 1988 and March 1989. Both women were confronted by Taylor wearing a balaclava mask and armed with a knife.

His first victim, aged 31, was grabbed in Houghley Ghyll, exactly where Taylor snatched Leanne, on her way to pick up her daughter from school when she was forced into wasteland and raped.

Unsolved

Months later, Taylor sneaked into the home of the mother of a young child in Broadlea Hill, Bramley. He forced his victim upstairs and carried out vile assaults on her.

Detectives want to find out whether Taylor is linked to four unsolved murders.

DEBORAH WOOD: The 20-year-old's burnt remains were found behind Burley Park Station, Burley, Leeds, in January, 1996.

REBECCA HALL: A 19-year-old prostitute of Little Horton, Bradford, her body was found in an alley in Thornton Road, Bradford in April last year. She had been brutally beaten.

YVONNE FITT: The body of the street girl was discovered 10 years ago just 100 yards from the spot where Leanne's body was dumped. It is believed Miss Fitt had been murdered up to two months before her body was discovered, in September, 1992.

LINDSAY JO RIMER: In November 1994 the 13-year-old left her home in Hebden Bridge to buy a packet of cornflakes. Five months later her body was found weighted down in a canal, two miles from her home. She had been strangled.

Taylor has already been questioned about those crimes but denied any involvement.

david.bruce@ypn.co.uk

Comment: Page 10