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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
How Leanne's killer was caught
John Taylor
Fibres from Leanne's jumper matched Taylor's carpet
Police believed something must have gone very wrong almost as soon as they heard that 16-year-old Leanne Tiernan had vanished.

The Leeds teenager was happy, confident and streetwise and had never gone missing before.

A huge search involving detectives, uniformed officers, operational support, the dog section, mounted section and underwater search and air support was launched.

But even then, her body was not found until nine months later, when a man walking his dog stumbled across it in woods about 16 miles from her home.

The location of the body was to provide a link with local parcel delivery worker John Taylor, from Cockshott Drive in the Bramley area of the city.

Leanne Tiernan
Fibres from Leanne's jumper matched Taylor's carpet
Forensic evidence from it later proved Leanne had been in his house.

Police took a dog hair found on Leanne's body to a Texan university which had developed DNA profiling for dogs, principally for pedigree research.

A partial DNA profile of a dog was obtained - but Taylor's dog had since died. Police said later they believed he killed it to stop them identifying him.

The team then tested DNA on a human hair found on her body - the DNA profile obtained matched that of Taylor.

Taylor had used a dog collar to secure one of the bin liners which was found wrapped around Leanne's body.

The collar was made by a Nottingham company, which in turn sold it to wholesalers including a Liverpool mail order company - one of whose customers was Taylor.

Plastic match

A check on yellow cable ties used to tie Leanne's body up revealed they were manufactured by an Italian company who sold 99% of them to the Royal Mail - Taylor used to work for Parcelforce.

When detectives searched his home they found a piece of green plastic, identical to the sacks used to wrap Leanne's body.

Twine used to tie the bags was also found in the house. It was originally manufactured for the Ministry of Defence but lately had been sold for rabbit netting - and Taylor was interested in hunting.

A crucial piece of evidence was the discovery of carpet fibres on Leanne's jumper.

The carpet was traced to Taylor's house - he had removed the carpets from the rooms but had left bits sticking on nails.

Bondage evidence

Former girlfriends also provided crucial evidence about Taylor, who poached in the woods where Leanne's body was found.

Detectives appealed for women who had been out with men who had knowledge of the area to contact them.

At least two did - and the name that cropped up was John Taylor.

Other girlfriends described his unusual and often disturbing sexual fantasies.

One woman, referred to as Miss D, said that Taylor told her he liked tying women up and locking them in a cupboard.

Another woman, Miss B, said she was often tied up by Taylor - and he told another girlfriend, Mrs E, that he wanted to sleep with her 15-year-old daughter.

Despite all the evidence against him, Taylor initially admitted only to abducting Leanne - not to killing her.

He said the teenager had fallen off his bed, banged her head and died when he lifted her with a scarf which was round her neck, believing she was already dead.

The court dismissed his story, and Taylor was jailed for life for Leanne's kidnap and murder.


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08 Jul 02 | England
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