Too late for Stefan, but lawyers now seek private prosecution

19 March 1999
Manchester Evening News
Neal Snowdon

A man suspected of murdering schoolgirl Lesley Molseed 24 years ago could face a sensational murder trial in a private prosecution brought by her family. Relatives of 11-year-old Lesley have asked Manchester lawyers to bring the action against Raymond Hewlett, a convicted paedophile.

Hewlett, now 54, was named in the book Innocents which documented how Stefan Kiszko was wrongly convicted of Lesley's murder and served 16 years behind bars. The book named Hewlett and detailed how he fled to Ireland after lying to police about his movements on the day four-foot-tall Lesley was abducted in 1975.

He lived close to frail Lesley in the Rochdale area and had been questioned by police after her body was found on moors above the town. But detectives never checked his alibi because they became convinced that odd-looking Stefan Kiszko stabbed Lesley to death.

Now her parents April Garrett and Fred Anderson, her sister Julie Anderson and brother Fred junior have instructed solicitor Robert Lizar to start the private prosecution. Similar legal action was brought unsuccessfully by the family of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Mr Lizar, who specialises in miscarriages of justice, said today that his legal team is seeking access to police files on the murder inquiry. He said he would put all the evidence before a court which would then decide whether a warrant should be issued. If it is, Hewlett could stand trial just as if the case had been brought by the Crown Prosecution Service. Today Julie Anderson said: "Nobody else is doing anything for us and no one seems likely to bring Hewlett to trial. We thought that something had to be done."

Mr Lizar said: "I am not sure why the Crown Prosecution never decided to go ahead with the case against Hewlett as we have not yet had access to all the information they had."

Hewlett, now believed to be in Ireland, was subsequently rearrested but released after three days of questioning. The Crown Prosecution Service believed there was insufficient evidence to bring a criminal prosecution against him.

In 1996, the prosecution brought by Stephen Lawrence's family against three men believed to have murdered him failed when a judge ruled that vital evidence was inadmissible.

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