Date: 4 Jul 1996
Katrina Taylor was stabbed to death in the churchyard of St Nicholas Church on Dyke Road in Brighton.
She was stabbed five times in the cheat and once through the arm. Her body was later found the following day by dog walkers slumped against a tree near a tombstone.
The pathologist said that he thought that Katrina Taylor had been held from behind whilst she was stabbed from the front by one or two people.
The murder weapon was later found down a drain in Peacehaven. During the investigation, the police said that they had gathered 400 exhibits, utilising the time of 50 detectives and 15 forensic experts.
Two drug dealers from London were convicted of her murder in 1997 but were later acquitted at a retrial in October 1999. Following the acquittal one of the men had a charge of false imprisonment against him dropped whilst the other drug dealer admitted it and was sentenced to 30 months although he was released due to the amount of time he had already spent in prison.
It was heard that one of the reasons for the acquittal at the second trial was that two of the other people tried alongside the two London drug dealers declined to give evidence and that as a result, much of the prosecution’s case, which was mainly circumstantial and based on their testimony was missing and so the judge said that there was insufficient evidence to continue. It was heard that at the first trial, the two other people that were said to have been involved with Katrina Taylor's murder had said that they had been at the house in Centurion Road with the two drug dealers and Katrina Taylor, and that the two drug dealers had then gone off with Katrina Taylor to the churchyard and that when they had got back they had told them that Katrina Taylor was dead. However, without that evidence the case became a lot weaker. It was further noted that the two drug dealers said that the exact opposite was true and that Katrina Taylor had gone off with the two other people who had been similarly ried for Katrina Taylor's murder at the first trial, but acquitted. The drug dealers said that they thought that the other man had killed Katrina Taylor. The other man, it was noted, did admit to disposing of the knife used to murder Katrina Taylor down a drain in Peacehaven.
Katrina Taylor was stabbed to death. It was said that she had been murder in revenge for a burglary at the home of the girlfriend of one of the London drug dealers who had lived in Bolney Road, Moulsecoomb, Brighton. The girlfriend and her brother were tried alongside the drug dealers in 1997 for Katrina Taylor's murder but were acquitted, although the girlfriend of the one of the London drug dealers was convicted of false imprisonment and sentenced to two years imprisonment.
It was claimed that Katrina Taylor had stood as a lookout whilst two burglars had burgles the house in Bolney Road on 9 May 1996.
It was said that Katrina Taylor had been held prisoner at the home of the drug dealers girlfriend at her house in Centurion Road, Brighton before she was taken to St Nicholas churchyard and murdered.
It was also claimed that there had been a cover up over her murder.
At the retrial the defence stated that there was no evidence regarding what had happened in the churchyard and that nothing to show who had been holding the murder weapon.
Katrina Taylor was described as a very slight and frail girl. She was also described as lively, extrovert and sometimes loud.
She was said to have had a troubled youth and had left school with few qualifications after which she had become involved in drugs and later become addicted to heroin, taking about three shots a day before her death and spending about £200 a week on drugs. As such it was said that she would sometimes finance her drug habit through crime, mainly thefts and burglaries and that it was through that course that she had become involved in the burglary in Bolney Road. however, the home was that of one of the London drug dealers.
The drug dealers also had an operation in Cricklewood, London where they were growing skunk cannabis in the hope of earning £120,000, and it was said that when they heard that the house at Bolney Road had been burgled they became hell-bent on revenge.
It was said that when the house in Bolney Road was burgled, which had been decorated carefully in a theme of black culture by one of the London drug dealers, that the burglars had been especially vindictive and had smashed up furniture, piled up clothes and set them on fire, and had pulled out a washing machine resulting in the house flooding.
It was heard that Katrina Taylor had later sold some of the jewellery stolen from the house in Bolney Road for £20 in order to get a heroin fix.
It was heard that Katrina Taylor was later charged with the burglary a month later by the police after which the London drug dealers, described as 'heavies' launched their own 'investigation'. It was heard that they carried out their house-to-house inquiries and beat and stabbed anyone who re-fused to co-operate.
They first went looking for the two men that had been involved in the burglary, and although they could not find one, Katrina Taylor's boyfriend, of them as he had already been arrested, they found the other and when they found him that beat him and stabbed him in both legs with a screwdriver. It was noted that they also beat his friend and stabbed him in the face, beat him with a hammer and kicked him in the head multiple times. The men then went on to try and find Katrina Taylor.
It was heard that they went to the house of Katrina Taylor's aunt looking for Katrina Taylor. The aunt said, 'They banged on the door and told her mum Kathy they wanted to get her. They said they were going to kill her'. Katrina Taylor had not been at her aunt’s house and the following day she was arrested by the police in relation with the burglary.
The police later stated that they had wanted to keep Katrina Taylor in custody for her own protection but that the magistrate gave her bail because she had an eight-month-old daughter, and she was released.
At the time Katrina Taylor had been living in a hostel in Brighton, but whilst she was out on bail she was spotted in the Sheridan Hotel in King's Road by a friend of one of the Lond drug dealers and Katrina Taylor was later taken, against her will, to a house in Centurion Road where she was confronted by the owners of the house that she had helped to burgle. It was said that whilst there Katrina Taylor had pleaded with them not to hurt her and had offered to pay back the money from her dole money at the rate of £10 per week. It was sat that as she had sat on a sofa at the house that one of the drug dealers had held a knife to her throat.
It was said then that afterwards they marched her to the churchyard and stabbed her to death. Witnesses said that they heard screaming coming from the graveyard at about 11.15pm on 4 July 1994.
Neighbours said that they heard nothing as Katrina Taylor was walked to St Nicholas Church. The route from Centurion Road had gone past St Paul's Primary School and across Church Street and into the cemetery.
The two London drug dealers denied murdering Katrina Taylor.
It was heard that after Katrina Taylor was found dead, her description with published in the newspapers and staff at the Sheridan Hotel in King's Road remembered seeing her and said that they saw her leave in a white Renault vehicle, which helped the police focus on one of the London drug dealers who they found also had a white Renault.
The investigation into her murder was known as Operation Rambler.
It was noted that Katrina Taylor had earlier taken part in the reconstruction for the murder of Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, which was known as the Babes in the Wood murder, when she was 9-years-old. The reconstruction had taken place in Wild Park and Katrina Taylor had played the role of Nicola Fellows. Katrina Taylor was murdered ten years later.
A website on the internet, vic.20m.com claims that there was also a cover up by the Sussex Police who covered up vital evidence regarding phone calls made by one of the drug dealers from the top floor flat at 318 South Coast Road in Peacehaven, which it states was the same day that he put a knife down a drain. The website said that the top floor flat at 318 South Coast Road was being used for a wide range of criminal activities including fraud as well as perverting the course of justice which the site claimed the Sussex Police were also complicit in.
In 2000 people campaigned in the Brighton area for a full investigation by the Police Complaints Authority and said that after fly-posting posters calling for justice for Katrina Taylor, people were sent death threats. The campaign also listed the names of various police officers in the Sussex Police who they claimed were guilty in varying degrees of incompetence. The claims of incompetence ranged from failing to investigate the background of key witnesses to failing to respond to information about the whereabouts of the accused. The campaign claimed that they had uncovered evidence that linked Katrina Taylor's murder to a fraud gang operating out of Peacehaven and that the claim was not properly investigated.