Stabbed 17 times
Jackie Seston, 14, was found stabbed to death in the home she shared with her older sister, Gillian, in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, on October 2, 1973. Her top was yanked up, her skirt in disarray and her tights and underwear around her ankles. It was later determined she had died at about 14h00. There was no evidence of a forced entry.
Jackie was not known to have a boyfriend. But her sister did – 23-year-old Albert Taylor. When a taxi driver confirmed he had dropped off Taylor at the house just before 14h00, police brought the young man in for questioning. Taylor said he had gone to tell Gillian about a job interview – and had found Jackie’s body. Instead of calling the authorities, he panicked and ran. Later, he met Gillian at a local technical college. They had coffee – but Taylor did not tell her Jackie was dead! Gillian then went off to attend another class.
Blood found on Taylor’s overcoat matched Jackie’s blood type. Semen was found in Jackie’s vagina, but not on her underwear, as would have been the case had she had sex before getting dressed. There were also seminal stains on Taylor’s trousers, shirt and overcoat. In the days before modern DNA tests, that was as far as the forensics scientists could go – but it was enough to see Taylor charged with the rape and murder of Jackie Seston.
Taylor’s alibi was that he had been at Peterborough railway station buying a newspaper at 13h15, and then he went for his interview, which lasted 15 minutes. He said he knew the time he had been at the station because of the peculiar ticking of the station clock. The prosecution, however, produced evidence to show that the clock was electric and did not make a sound.
After being sentenced to life imprisonment, Taylor complained about the police handling of the case. Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Crust was appointed to re-investigate the case. Incredibly, he was able to trace the clock Taylor had referred to. It had been removed when the station was refurbished, but it did have a ‘strange’ tick and would have been there in October 1973.
Taylor’s explanation for his strange behaviour after finding Jackie’s body remained lame. As a child, he said, he had seen a cyclist killed under a bus. Since then he had been unable to stand the sight of blood. So unsettled by finding Jackie, he had not told Gillian about it because he thought he had imagined the whole thing.
Despite this, Taylor’s conviction was overturned in April 1979 after he had served five years of his sentence.