Key schoolgirl murder evidence `lost'

23 February 1992
The Observer
John Sweeney
Lesley Molseed case examined
Catalogue of bungles jailed wrong man

Crucial evidence that could have revealed the real killer of schoolgirl Lesley Molseed and freed wrongly imprisoned Stefan Kiszko is `missing'. The disappearance of four slides of semen samples taken from the clothes of the dead girl cheats detectives of the chance to use new DNA tracing techniques to find who did stab 11 year old Lesley 16 years ago. Other slides from the case have not gone astray.

An Observer investigation into the `framing' of the now 40 year old Kiszko after his arrest at Christmas 1975 has revealed a disturbing narrative of what may be the shoddiest example of police, forensic and legal bungling in recent years.

Justice has been miscarried, evidence mislaid and the life of the hapless Kiszko - an amiable, shyly smiling teddy bear in a 1975 photograph - made a `nightmare and hellish'. As a `child-sex killer' in prison he was the lowest of the low, beaten up twice and held in solitary confinement for his own protection.

Our inquiry asks questions about three men at the centre of the discredited investigation and the court case: detective Dick Holland, one of the team that broke down Kiszko under unsupervised interrogation to confess to a crime he did not commit; forensic scientist Ron Outteridge, who missed evidence that would have freed him; and Kiszko's defence counsel, David Waddington QC, Mrs Thatcher's last Home Secretary and now Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords. He advised his client to run a defence of `diminished responsibility' on `medical grounds', but Kiszko insisted on pleading not guilty.

The greatest puzzle concerns the actions of Mr Outteridge, a distinguished forensic scientist who ended his career as director of the service's laboratories at Huntingdon. While working at the old Harrogate forensic lab, serving the Yorkshire police area, he was responsible for overseeing forensic evidence.

Lesley Molseed's body was found on a Pennine moor in early October 1975. She had been stabbed and there were semen stains on her clothes. Four samples of semen were taken on slides and analysed at Harrogate that month by Peter Guise, a forensic scientist working under Mr Outteridge. Guise found that the semen contained sperm-heads, so one thing was certain: the killer was fertile.

But it is understood the sperm count was unusually low, in the bottom 25% of sperm density. Police inquiries led them to Kiszko, then a 24 year old clerk with the Inland Revenue who lived in Rochdale with his mother, Charlotte.

Kiszko `looked' the part. He is physically immature, overweight, with a light voice and a waddling gait. This is because he suffers from hypogonadism, one known symptom of which is sterility, or no sperm at all.

The Rochdale police surgeon at the time, Dr Edward Tierney, examined Kiszko on 22 December 1975 and took blood and semen samples and sent them off for analysis.

Dr Tierney dealt with Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Dibb, in charge of the case, who is now dead, and with Dick Holland, now a security consultant with the Huddersfield Health Authority.

The results of that test at Harrogate were clear: Kiszko was sterile. Dr Tierney did not know of the discrepancy between Kiszko's and the killer's semen until after the Home Office ordered a re-investigation.

Mr Outteridge collated the results of the forensic tests. The vital evidence that would have cleared Kiszko should have been given to him and included in his report. Yet the tests were missing. In his statement at the murder trial in July 1976, he referred to the semen stains on the girl's body, but did not mention the discrepancy between the sperm-heads found there by his junior, Guise, and Kiszko's congenital inability backed up by the sample taken by Dr Tierney to produce sperm.

Last week Mr Outteridge declined to speak to The Observer.

One possible reason for the evidence being overlooked could be that Kiszko had already made his false confession to Dibb and Holland before the discrepancy emerged. Kiszko said the police officers handed him a pre-written statement in which he confessed to the murder. The investigating officer read it to him and told him to sign it. Kiszko said: `I just signed it any old way. I was under the impression these officers were going to hit me or do something violent. They were very tall and very strong.'

Last week Holland told The Observer that, although Dibb was in charge of the case, he had been called away to another homicide inquiry towards the end of the investigation.

Asked about the discrepancy in the forensic evidence, Holland replied: `Look, if ever we had had a report which said the two semen samples don't match, Kiszko would not have been charged.' And there was never any suspicion of that? `No.' Did he ever ask Outteridge about the discrepancy? `No.' Did Outteridge ever discuss it with him? `N o.'

Kiszko's last chance was that the discrepancy in the forensic evidence would be exposed at his trial. This chance was lost when Waddington advised Kiszko to enter the alternative defence of guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

But Kiszko persisted with his `not guilty' plea, so the two defences were run simultaneously. Waddington's grounds were Kiszko's recent medical treatment, which had included testosterone injections a few days before the murder. He argued that these injections may have changed Kiszko from a shy and gentle man to a child-sex killer.

He called to the trial Dr (now Professor) David Anderson, then of Manchester University. Interviewed by BBC's Close Up North programme last week, Prof Anderson said: `The one thing I was not prepared to say is that the injection would have turned him into a raving sex maniac.'

So Waddington did not call Kiszko's doctor at all. Had he done so, the significance of his sterility might have emerged, and, also, the discrepancy between the semen samples. Lord Waddington would not comment last week.

The consequences of conviction for Kiszko were as immediate as they were cruel. On his first night in Wakefield Prison he was beaten up by six other convicts. He then spent several years in solitary confinement under Rule 43. Even then he was not safe, enduring threats and taunts. `Nonces', or sex offenders, are at the bottom of the prison hierarchy, constantly on the receiving end of prisoners' urinating in their tea or soiling their food with excrement. A visibly odd `child-sex killer' such as Kiszko would be at the mercy of every common burglar, thief and murderer seeking to build themselves some status. They came for him a second time, beating him over the head with a mop handle. He had to have 17 stitches for the wound.

Kiszko was released from prison after solicitor Campbell Malone took up his case. Kiszko's mother, Charlotte, who never gave up her belief in her son's innocence, impressed him with a number of disquieting flaws in the Crown case. The Kiszko family stuck resolutely to his alibi: that he had been with his mother and his aunt to his father's grave. Another flaw was that some schoolgirls who had alleged, in the hysteria following Lesley's murder, that he had sexually abused them, admitted they had made up the story.

Last week Lesley's stepfather, Daniel Molseed, 57, admitted sexually assaulting her brother, Fred, after the murder. He denies anything to do with his stepdaughter's death.

Mr Malone said yesterday: `Everything that could go wrong with the Kiszko case did go wrong. I don't think there was a conspiracy to convict an innocent man. It was just before Christmas: perhaps they wanted it all wrapped up. This case speaks of everything that is wrong with the British criminal justice system. I hope those on the Royal Commission take note.' Now Kiszko who is still being treated for the schizophrenia he developed while in prison plans to travel, drive his car and possibly get married. `I am hoping I will meet Miss Right. I am still looking.'

About prison, he said: `I missed the comforts of home, driving, going out and doing things in town; basically, all the things freedom can give you.'

Mr Malone observed last week, however, that had capital punishment been in force, Kiszko would not now be able to enjoy such simple pleasures.

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