New leads on unsolved schoolgirl murder

22 March 2001
Rochdale Observer

Among them is a former Rochdale man who subjected his daughter and stepson to five years of persistent sexual abuse. Following a 23-day trial in 1992 - in what was dubbed the orgies-in-the-attic trial - he was jailed for 10 years but has since been released. It is understood he is now living in a hostel in London. On Sunday, the News of the World said the 52-year-old was linked to Raymond Hewlett - a convicted paedophile already under suspicion of Lesley's death - and a third, unnamed man.

Lesley disappeared from her home in Turf Hill on 5 October 1975 on her way to buy a loaf of bread. Three days later her body was found on the desolate moorland above the A627 Oldham to Halifax Road. She had been stabbed repeatedly. The man convicted of her killing, Stefan Kiszko, who spent 16 years in prison protesting his innocence, was cleared of the crime in February 1992. He died shortly afterwards.

According to the News of the World, the man it names was known to Lesley and was spotted on the day of her disappearance luring her away from the shop with a bag of sweets. It says that, later that day, the distraught child was seen with her abductor, clawing to get out of the car. Early the next day, says the report, he and another man spent two hours scrubbing clean a blue van.

It says that Lesley's body was found five miles from a house where the man under suspicion - along with other paedophiles - subjected children to abuse. It claims he was a close friend of Hewlett at the time of Lesley's murder. The newspaper also says it has tapes of a meeting it set up between the man and his ex-wife. Quizzing him about Lesley's death, he is said to reply: "You're putting me in a coffin.''

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "We cannot name individuals but I can confirm that we are investigating information that stems from this document and 148 new lines of inquiry. "The investigation may take some time, but we have a team of officers involved in the case.''

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