New major crime unit sees almost 800 years’ jail time for serious offenders

Jail terms totalling almost 800 years have been handed out to offenders including killers and rapists during the first 12 months of a new major crime unit.

Detectives across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire have been working in the collaborated Major Crime Unit since April 2012, investigating murder, manslaughter, kidnap and extortion alongside any other major inquiries for each of the three forces.

It has been a busy year for the new unit which has two hubs: Huntingdon and Stevenage. They have taken on 38 fresh investigations, including shootings, murders, hijackings and rapes.

Senior investigating officers direct teams of detectives, family liaison officers, analysts and forensic scientists from across the three forces.

During the first 12 months a string of cases, some started prior to the collaboration, have concluded, with 10 life sentences passed down by the courts. Judges have passed a total of 792 years’ imprisonment in minimum tariffs and jail terms for those responsible for some horrific crimes.

Investigations concluded in the last 12 months include:

Paul Taylor, 60, was jailed for life with a minimum 18 years for the murder of Sally McGrath in Peterborough in 1979 and a number of rapes and sexual assaults.

Christopher Nudds (aka Docherty-Puncheon), 34, was jailed for a minimum of 32 years for murdering 83-year-old Robert ‘Riley’ Workman near Buntingford, Hertfordshire, in January 2004. It was his second murder conviction.

Andrew Hall, 18, was jailed for a minimum of 15 years for murdering his 15-year-old girlfriend Megan Peat at a house in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, on June 9. Hall, a former Premier League academy footballer, stabbed the teenager 60 times.

Detective Superintendent Jeff Hill said: “In this first year we have had some outstanding results in some complex and challenging investigations.

“The past 12 months has seen the conclusion of old cases, which had been dealt with by individual forces, and whole investigations progressed from initial investigation through to sentence.

“In total we have seen judges pass down prison terms totalling almost 800 years in sentences or minimum tariffs in life sentences.

“It all adds up to the most dangerous people in society being taken off the streets and making Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire safer places to live.”