TV slot calls up murder leads

6 February 2003
Rochdale Observer
Adam Derbyshire

Murder squad detectives are pursuing a host of fresh leads as the hunt for Lesley Molseed's killer intensifies. Sensational new DNA evidence has given the 27-year-old inquiry an adrenaline boost and police say they will never have a better chance of cracking the case. Now the net could be closing in on the killer after an appeal on BBC's Crimewatch programme yielded more than 200 calls.

The 11-year-old was abducted from Stiups Lane, Turf Hill, on 5 October 1975. Her body was found three days later on desolate moorland above the A627 Oldham-to-Halifax Road. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed 12 times.

Detectives revealed for the first time this week that they now have the killer's DNA profile after forensic scientists used pioneering new techniques to test semen found at the scene.

The forgotten evidence came to light after investigators discovered scraps of material from the original murder inquiry at a criminal science laboratory in Wetherby. The sample was tested and, amazingly, a genetic fingerprint was produced.

The man jailed for her murder, Rochdale tax clerk Stefan Kiszko, was cleared of the crime by Appeal Court judges in 1992. The 42-year-old's conviction was quashed after he was discovered to be infertile and would not have been able to leave the evidence found on the schoolgirl's clothing. Mr Kiszko spent 16 years in prison, but sadly died shortly after his release.

A man who emerged in the 90s as prime suspect, convicted paedophile Raymond Hewlett, who was named in a 1997 book, has been "categorically ruled out" after it was found his DNA does not match the profile. Also cleared, along with 300 other suspects, are infamous murderers Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and child killer Robert Black.

The man leading the new hunt for the Molseed murderer, Detective Chief Superintendent Max Mclean of the West Yorkshire Police, said: "We have had a huge and encouraging response from the vast majority of callers. Many have given us useful and focused information on men capable of committing such an attack and who lived in or visited the Rochdale area.

"I would remind people that elimination will now be once and for all. The worst thing that anyone could do is not report their suspicions when the process of elimination is now so easy and final. With a simple mouth swab we are able to clear a suspect forever.

"I even want the names of people who are now dead. There are simple scientific tests we can undertake to determine whether they were involved in Lesley's death. The man responsible can only be described as a brutal child killer and even though almost three decades have passed, the ferocity of the crime still gives it the same impact as if it happened yesterday."

Anyone with information is urged to contact the incident room at Halifax police station on 01422 337047.

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