Exclusively presented by ‘Taylor Investigations’, new evidence in the Katrina Taylor unsolved murder in 1996, has been uncovered which gives Sussex police reason to reopen her case, on the grounds that original evidence was not presented in court.
Katrina Taylor’s 1996 unsolved murder remains one of the nation’s most notorious unsolved murders, and has a connection to Brighton’s equally notorious murders of Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in 1986.
Russell Bishop has been found guilty of murdering both Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in December 2018 at a trial in the Old Bailey, drawing to a close one of the nation’s most unsettling mis-carriages of justice.
- Babes in the Wood murders: Paedophile killer Russell Bishop found guilty of murdering Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in 1986
With police forces across the country always prepared to reinvestigate cold cases, dependent on new evidence; ‘Taylor Investigations’ is taking a fresh look at the 1996 unsolved murder of Katrina Taylor in Brighton, UK, uncovering a relationship between the 1986 Babes in the Woods murder of Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, and the 1996 murder of Katrina Taylor.
While one has been resolved, Katrina Taylor’s murder remain the nation’s most notorious and controversial unsolved murder cases. Made the more shocking with the back stories of both cases, revealing insights into the more shadowy and criminal side of Brighton’s life.
What is the connection?
Aged 9 years old, Brighton born Katrina Taylor played Nicola Fellows in the BBC Crimewatch re-construction of their final movements in 1986.
She went on to be brutally murdered ten years later.
Before 2018, both the Babes in the Woods and Katrina Taylor’s murders, remained unsolved.
While Russell Bishop was found found guilty of murdering the Babes in the Woods, and justice has been served, the killers of Katrina Taylor have yet to be brought to justice.
With the advancement of forensic evidence instrumental in the re-trial and conviction of Russell Bishop (of which he was acquitted in 1987) and the new evidence that prompted a unsuccessful search for Susie Lamplugh who was thought to be buried in a garden with a connection to the chief suspect John Cannan aka Mr Kipper; a new campaign is taking hold to reopen the Katrina Taylor murder.
‘Taylor Investigations’ presents new evidence of a fifth man involved in the murder of Katrina Taylor.
Katrina Taylor, aged only 19 and a mother to an eight-month-old baby, girl was brutally murdered on the 4 July 1996, killed by five stabs to the heart.
Events leading up to her murder began on 8 May 1996, when Katrina acted as a look out for a burglary at the home of Neisha Williams.
Katrina Taylor’s boyfriend Mattie Laurie and his friend John Cosham, broke in and stole a number of electrical items including a stereo.
Supporting a heroin addiction costing up to £200 a day, Katrina would have been doing whatever she could to finance a habit which was slowly destroying her life and the lives of her loved ones.
They returned to Neisha’s property later to steal the washing machine, and in doing so caused a flood to two rooms and set fire to furniture.
Neisha Williams, a mother to two young children with Trevor Smith, was forced to move in with her brother Simon Williams, at his place at 77 Centurion Road in central Brighton.
Centurion road is meters from Brighton’s oldest Church and graveyard at St Nicholas Church.
Neisha was furious; as was London based Trevor Smith who was more concerned about the danger to his children from the fire.
Its important to note that neither Neisha or her kids were at the property at the time of the burglary. Neisha returned to her property the next day, and was heard to vow, “Whoever did this is dead.”
According to court transcripts, we learn that Neisha contacted Trevor Smith, who promptly formed a posse of seven men, who were intent on revenge, rampaging through Brighton hellbent on finding those responsible.
The posse was made up with Simon Williams, his brother Jason Williams, Neisha Williams, Trevor Smith, Fergal Scolland and two other men called Wallace and Fleming.
Having first burst into the family home of the Taylor’s and having attacked Katrina’s sister Kerry; they eventually tracked down John Cosham, who was severly beaten and stabbed in both legs with a screw driver.
Mattie Laurie managed to evade capture having already been arrested and detained by police for a separate robbery charge.
Katrina Taylor was next on their list and nothing was going to stand in their way.
Neisha Williams didn’t report the burglary to the police, but Kerry Taylor did, and the following day Katrina was arrested for her part she played.
Sussex police Detectives asked magistrates to remand her in custody, but she was granted bail to look after her baby daughter.
The Night of the Murder
It was two months later, on the 4th July 1996, that Katrina’s luck ran out.
She was spotted sitting on the steps of a Brighton seafront hotel by Simon Williams, who at the time was in his car with his girlfriend, Sarah Jackson..
According to eye witnesses Simon stopped his car, got out, and Katrina ran into the hotel. The hotel’s manageress recalls Katrina running in saying, “that black guy is going to kill me.”
Simon Williams entered the hotel and grabbed hold of Katrina, all the while Katrina pleading Simon not to hurt her. “Don’t hurt me, I know you’re going to hurt me.”
Evidence of witness intimidation now rears it’s ugly head, with the fact that in her police statement the manageress said Williams had ‘dragged Katrina to his car’, while giving evidence at trial, she said Katrina had ‘gone to his car under her own steam’.
Sarah Jackson revealed in court that Katrina kept saying, “Don’t do anything to me,” and repeated the claim that she got into the car under her own volition.
Regardless of the manner in which she got into the car, the truth was the game was up and Katrina had been found.
According to evidence given in court, both Katrina and Simon Williams arrived at 77 Centurion road at about 6.15pm.
Within a short time of Neisha setting eyes on Katrina she rang Trevor Smith, who just so happened to be on his way back to London with Fergal Scollan. They had got as far as East Croydon when the call came through, and immediately disembarked to catch the next train back to Brighton.
While Smith and Scollan travelled back to Brighton, and according to Sarah Jackson’s evidence, there were angry words said between Neisha and Katrina, as you expect there would.
Katrina admitted to having sold Neisha’s stereo and admitted to have acted as a lookout, while her home was burgled. It was agreed that Katrina would pay Neisha £10 a fortnight out of her Giro cheque, and according to Sarah Jackson, tensions eased.
Sadly events were set to escalate and take on a more sinister turn.
Trevor Smith and Fergal Scollan arrived back at 77 Centurion Road at about 7.30pm. Sarah Jackson described them as hostile. Revealed via her evidence in court, she said she heard Neisha come upstairs and say through the door, “Trevor has got a knife out.”
Sarah Jackson left 77 Centurion Road at about 8.15pm, after which Simon Williams drove her home.
Once Simon Williams returned to 77 Centurion Road, its agreed by all parties that the only people in the house were Katrina Taylor, Simon Williams, Neisha Williams, Trevor Smith and Fergal Scollan.
There is no direct evidence to suggest what occurred between this time and the death of Katrina, only the killers of Karina knew what happened that fateful night.
The fact Smith, Scollan and the two Williams were charged with false imprisonment, proves that Katrina was held at 77 Centurion Road against her will.
The bail conditions called for Katrina to return to her hostel in Brighton by 11pm. The fact she didn’t return implies she wasn’t free to return at that time.
We can only surmise that Katrina made a run for it. Waited for an opportunity to escape, and once it came she took it. She would have ran for the door and ran as fast as she could.
But with Smith, Scollan and Williams in hot pursuit, she would have only reached the graveyard of St Nicholas church before being caught and murdered in cold blood.
Cold Blooded Murder
Katrina’s body was found the next morning by a man walking his dog. According to the pathologist’s report, there were two possible scenarios as to how she was killed.
One; she had been held by one person from behind while another stabbed her from the front, or two; one tall strong person had held her from behind with his left arm and stabbed her in the front with his or her right man.
The pathologist concluded she must have been restrained because there were very few defensive wounds on her hands and arms. There would have been little or no blood staining on her attacker(s) or on the knife.
Katrina Taylor was dead. Murdered in the grounds of St Nicholas Church in central Brighton.
Time of death was estimated to be between 10.30pm and 3.30am. Her body was found at 8.30am on the 5th of July, and there was evidence of a disturbance, including screaming, in the churchyard at around 11.15pm the previous evening.
The pathologist’s evidence was that Katrina had been stabbed five times with a knife, and her death had been almost instantaneous following two stab wounds to the heart.
At about midnight on the night of the murder, Trevor Smith and Fergal Scollan had missed the last train back to London. As a result they persuaded Simon Williams to drive them to London Victoria; where-after they caught a night bus to their home in Cricklewood, from which they caught a taxi to Purley Avenue where their girlfriends lived. Simon Williams returned to Brighton after dropping them off at Victoria.
Introducing a new player to the picture, Trevor Smith’s girlfriend, Jennifer Loannou.
She evidenced her diary to the trial purporting to show that Trevor Smith had spent the whole of the evening of the 4th July with her. Evidentially an attempt to give Smith an alibi.
She went on to give evidence that both Trevor Smith and Fergal Scollan spent the weekend of the 6th to the 8th July at her home and were ‘subdued’
On the evening of the 9th July, Smith and Scollan asked Jennifer Loannou if they could use her father’s flat. Having agreed, they laid low until they were arrested by police on the 24th July.
The police had raided Smith’s and Scollan’s home in Cricklewood on the 9 July and found the place empty, though they did find cannabis plants, which was the reason both Smith and Scollan gave as reason for hiding out at another property.
According to Jennifer Loannou, both Smith and Scollan had a conversation of going to Cyprus, asking whether extradition from Cyprus was a possibility.
Back in Brighton
Simon Williams returned to Brighton during the early hours of the 5th July, having dropped both Smith and Scollan at Victoria Station in London.
According to a new witness who wasn’t called to give evidence in any trial, David Neilson from Peacehaven, recalls Simon Williams returning to the top flat of 318 South Coast Road in Peacehaven.
In a sworn statement by David Neilson dated 7 February 2000, he claims that on the “Friday PM, 5th July, Simon Williams was in the flat. He was always very noisy when in the flat (which I will add that at no time ever had any furniture or carpet) but on that day he continually walked the entire length of the flat. He then went outside several times slamming the front door. I was getting agitated as to the unnecessary disturbance. My first thought was that he was waiting for a delivery, which had not arrived on time, but because of his actions I took special note as he did several things out of character. He walked around the front of the building and into Cairo Avenue, he then sat by the drain where the knife was found. This is a back road entrance to the building and when I first looked I expected to see a delivery vehicle. He then went back into the flat making more noise. I heard him talking on the telephone. A while later he repeated his actions of going to the area of the drain. This is why his actions of that day stuck in my mind.”
The fact that Simon Williams went to Peacehaven on the day after Katrina Taylor’s murder churns up a number of questions about what Williams was doing and why he went to Peacehaven?
These questions are answered by the testimony of David Neilson but never put forward in the trials.
We must remember that within weeks of Katrina’s murder, a team of 50 detectives and 15 forensic experts had gathered 400 exhibits – including the murder weapon, (which Simon Williams had disposed of down a drain in Peacehaven) – and 150 statements.
The police found the murder weapon because David Neilson witnessed Simon Williams acting suspiciously around a drain near Cairo Avenue in Peacehaven.
The Fifth Man
The fifth man is a crime lord called Mark Slade, aka Marcel Sulc.
Simon Williams worked for Mark Slade by managing the post, deliveries and pick ups, from the property of 318 South Coast road, Peacehaven.
All evidence of Mark Slade’s presence at 318 South Coast Road and all crimes reported to the police concerning 318 South Coast Road have been erased from the case file.
If David Neilson was called to give evidence, the jury would have heard that Mark Slade’s gang were using the flat above Mr Neilson, Top Flat, 318 Southcoast road, Peacehaven, East Sussex, for varying types of criminal activities from credit fraud and drugs.
According to Mr Neilson, Slade openly boasted of having a string of criminal convictions, including blackmail, deception, handling stolen goods, actual bodily hard, firearms, burglary and drug dealing.
Simon Williams worked for Slade as the ‘pick up man’, signing for goods delivered, and for answering the telephone.
Serious questions are now being asked of Sussex Police as to why Mark Slade and the criminal activities associated with 318 South Coast Road weren’t presented in court.
The Murder House
Labelled the ‘Murder House’, due to its connection to he murder, the up stairs flat was used as a base of major criminal activity, the details of which had been reported to Sussex police by David Neilson on a number of occasions.
It can be argued that if the crimes reported by David Neilson, Simon Williams would not have been free to contribute to the murder of Katrina Taylor.
The truth remains none-the-less; Sussex police dismissed without investigation these criminal activities by Crime Lord Mark Slade, even before the murder of Katrina Taylor.
As Mr Neilson comments, “No action or enquiry was made, which is unfathomable, considering the seriousness of events surrounding the building.”
Who is Mark Slade aka Marcel Sulc?
As reported in the Guardian by Martin Brighton and Tony Thompson on 25 August 2002, Mark Slade was a notorious fraudster with the reputation as the new king of the slum landlords.
As you can see in this rare picture captured of the elusive Crime Lord, he is holding a bag of crack cocaine.
His modus operandi was to seize properties owned by other people, by using the civil courts to repossess flats for non-payment of nominal ground rents – usually of only around £50.
- King of the Slums
He’d receive ground rent cheques from his leaseholders but not cash them, exposing a loop-hole, giving him the lawful authority, to break into the flats, change their locks and throw out all their contents.
He effectively obtained properties at no cost, which he sold on pocketing the cash, making ‘Pure Profit’; hence the name of one his companies, among an array of other imaginatively named companies, including Deadly Ltd and Grim Ltd.
Sulc once bragged to lawyers representing the Halifax bank, “You may be good at repossessing houses, but my people are better.”
“Over the past decade Sulc has built up his seaside empire without a whimper of protest from the authorities.”
The names Marcel Sulc chose for his property businesses were reflective or his arrogance and impunity against the Law.
GRAB-IT LIMITED, PURE PORFIT LIMITED, UPFRONT UK LIMITED, GRIM LIMITED
People who encountered the ‘security consultant’ are terrified.
Sulc,40 – real name Mark Slade – boasts of owning at least 1,000 properties on the South Coast. He is fast building a reputation as the new king of the slum landlords.
His activities were so notorious in Hastings and the surrounding area that locals have dubbed him ‘Van Hoogstraten Junior’, after the Sussex-based property magnate who famously described his tenants as ‘scum’.
Slade’s criminal activity was eventually challenged by a group of leaseholders who launched a campaign to expose the landlord’s criminal activities.
A run of successes in the courts have seen four leaseholders win back their flats seized by Sulc and are pursuing him for damages.
Marcel Sulc is a Menace
“Marcel Sulc is a menace. Nothing this man does is doing this town any good at all,” says Liberal Democrat councillor Pam Brown.
During a civil court case in March 2002, Sulc was forced to admit that the techniques his company had used to attempt to obtain the flats were illegal. The judge said the landlord was clearly guilty of a criminal offence.
A previous case involving a property in Warrior Square, Hastings, ended with a judgment of £25,000 against the Sulc-owned company Deadly Ltd. While the claim was being assessed, Sulc resigned as a director of the firm, thus ridding himself of any personal liability.
Above the Law & Punishment
Many people in Hastings are afraid of Sulc. One local housing officer told The Observer newspaper that it was too risky to speak about him, and a surveyor refused to assess independently the value of work to be carried out at the landlord’s property because of his reputation.
In 1992 Sulc, then still going by the name Mark Slade, was one of three men convicted of fraudulently obtaining more than £1 million through a series of bogus mortgage applications.
After being turned down by the Court of Appeal, the three finally had their convictions overturned by the House of Lords in July 1996 after uncovering a legal loophole that shocked the world of financial services.
Slade had been charged with obtaining property by deception, but argued that, as the money involved had been transferred between bank accounts, there was no identifiable property involved. The law lords reluctantly agreed. Although Sulc had clearly committed a serious crime and had lied to obtain money, he could not be prosecuted for it.
Quashing his conviction, the country’s highest court called for immediate action to close the loophole. A new offence of obtaining a money transfer by deception has subsequently been introduced.
In 2000, a report on the criminal abuse of leaseholds by Detective Constable Peter Savage, of the Sussex Police Commercial Investigation Unit, uncovered several scams employed by anonymous companies operating in the Hastings and St Leonards area which mirror those being used by Sulc.
Paul Whitehouse was the Chief Constable of Sussex police at the time of Katrina’s murder.
There is also a connection between Mark Slade and the attack on the 2015 Brighton Kemptown Election Office of Matt Taylor & David Neilson
Screaming down the camera that “Democracy Stinks in Brighton Kemptown,” Matt Taylor revealed in a number of vlogs, published in the up-run to the May 2015 General Election; that his election office at the notorious Murder House in Peacehaven, was attacked on the 15 January 2015, by members of Mark Slade’s gang.
Footage of the aftermath of the attack captured by Matt Taylor reveals the attacks signal to a passing car, which slowed down but sped up once realising he was being filmed.
Matt Taylor’s Independent campaign for become MP for Brighton Kemptown was sabotaged when the ownership of the front flat of the property at 318 Southcoast Road was called into question, follow by civil proceedings served to take ownership of the property, thus closing down Matt Taylor’s independent political bid for public office.
- I never knew politics could be so dangerous
David Joe Neilson
- Who is David Joe Neilson?
Acknowledged as a very import witness; David Neilson was not called to give evidence in any trial relating to Katrina Taylor; but yet he was the person who helped solve her murder, by being a critical witness.
Nor was Mr Neilson offered witness protection or even support.
After the murder he was attacked inside his flat by members of Slade’s gang.
- David Joe Neilson, beaten and left for dead
A Very Very Important Witness
In this Youtube clip, we listen into a conversation between Mr Neilson and Eddie Preston, a solicitor for Katrina Taylor’s killers during the retrial of 1999.
Acknowledgement of the importance of Mr Neilson’s testimony, is evident by the statements, “From our point of view we regard you as being a very very important witness.”
“Your evidence is of immense importance, all the information you’ve gathered together is crucial.”
Who killed Katrina?
At the trial at Lewes Crown Court in June 1997, Neisha was found guilty of false imprisonment but she and her brother, Simon Williams were cleared of murder.
Trevor Smith and Fergal Scollan were found guilty.
As reported by the Guardian, Smith and Scollan launched an immediate appeal claiming the judge had misdirected the jury over aspects of the evidence. The Court of Appeal ordered a retrial which began at the Old Bailey in October 1999.
For legal reasons, Neisha and Simon Williams did not give evidence. Lawyers for Smith and Scollan successfully argued that there was no case to answer, and the judge directed that both men be acquitted of murder because of insufficient evidence. Scollan had a charge of false imprisonment dropped. Smith admitted the same charge and was sentenced to 30 months but walked free because of time served.
Katrina’s mother, Kathy Taylor, told The Observer newspaper, “I am disgusted how this has turned out. It has destroyed my faith in the justice system and the police. My daughter was stabbed to death and no one has been made to pay. I won’t rest until they are.”
Despite a big police inquiry and two Crown Court trials, no one has been found guilty of her murder.
Campaigners for ‘Justice for Katrina’ believe Sussex Police failed to investigate the crime properly. They want a full investigation by the Police Complaints Authority.
In a number of websites, a list of Sussex officers are named and accused of varying degrees of incompetence, from allegedly failing to investigate the background of key witnesses, to failing to respond to information about the whereabouts of the accused.
‘Taylor Investigations’ has uncovered evidence that links the murder of Katrina Taylor in 1996, to a fraud gang operating out of nearby Peacehaven, and prove this has not been properly investigated.
A spokesperson for Sussex Police said, “The police thoroughly investigated this murder. The file remains open, and if anyone has information we would urge them to come forward.”