'Rough Justice' case halted

2 May 1995
The Guardian
Martin Wainwright

Two men who helped prepare a botched murder case which led to the wrongful jailing of Stefan Kiszko for 16 years may not face prosecution for perverting the course of justice. A magistrate granted a stay in proceedings yesterday in the case against a retired detective and a former Home Office scientist who investigated the stabbing of Rochdale schoolgirl Lesley Molseed.

Charges against former West Yorkshire police superintendent Dick Holland, 62, and retired forensic scientist Ronald Outteridge, 68, will not now proceed unless the Crown Prosecution Service appeals against the decision. There has been concern that the men could not get a fair trial because of lengthy and detailed publicity about the long affair.

Stipendiary magistrate Jane Hayward made her 30-minute ruling today at Rochdale magistrates court. Reporting restrictions were not lifted, and she ordered that no details of her decision be published because of the possibility that the CPS might appeal for a judicial review which could overturn her ruling.

Mr Holland, of Huddersfield, and Mr Outteridge, of Huntingdon, Cambridge, said after the hearing that they were both very pleased with the outcome. But Lesley Molseed's sister, Julie Crabbe, who left the court in tears, said: "I hope the prosecution go for an appeal."

Mr Kiszko's conviction was quashed in February 1992, 16 years after he was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing 11-year-old Lesley, whose body was found with 12 stab wounds on isolated Pennine moorland 10 miles from her home. The Court of Appeal freed him after hearing evidence that he had given a semen sample to police before the trial which showed he was infertile and could not have been responsible for traces found on the dead girl's clothes.

Mr Kiszko died of natural causes nearly two years after his release at the home in Rochdale which he shared with his mother. Friends of Mr Kiszko, who was 22 when he was arrested but had a mental age of 12, said he never recovered from his prison ordeal. Towards the end of his time in jail he was treated for schizophrenia. He died before final compensation had been agreed with the Home Office.

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