Arrest in 30-year-old murde

5 November 2006
Press Association
Paul Watson

A 53-year-old man has today been arrested on suspicion of the brutal murder of a schoolgirl who disappeared while running an errand for her mother more than 30 years ago.

Around noon on Sunday October 5, 1975, 11-year-old Lesley Molseed left her home in Delamere Road, Rochdale, on an errand for her mother to buy a loaf of bread and an air freshener from a local shop. Three days later her body was discovered on open moorland above the A672 Oldham to Halifax Road in Ripponden, West Yorkshire. She had been stabbed 12 times.

Following a major investigation, in which nearly 5,000 statements were taken and more than 12,000 people spoken to within the first three months, Stefan Kiszko, a tax clerk from Rochdale, was convicted of her murder. He was released from prison following an appeal in 1991 but died shortly afterwards the investigation re-opened.

The investigation featured on the BBC's 'Crimewatch' programme in February 2003 after officers made a breakthrough in the form of a DNA profile which police believe was left at the scene of the crime by Lesley's killer. More than 250 calls were received as a result of the programme.

At the time West Yorkshire Police vowed to keep the murder investigation open until the youngster's killer was found. A spokesman said then: 'We would urge anyone with any information that could help us to get in touch. 'This is a case which is very close to our hearts and we remain absolutely committed to catching Lesley's killer.'' A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said today: 'In connection with the murder of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed, whose body was found in Ripponden in October 1975, police have today arrested a 53-year-old man from Oldham in connection with her death. 'He is currently being questioned by police.''


Kiszko was the subject of an infamous miscarriage of justice

Lesley was stabbed 12 times and then sexually assaulted in 1975 but vital evidence which could have cleared the suspect went unheeded. In December 1975, detectives arrested and charged 26-year-old Kiszko.

Kiszko suffered from XYY syndrome, a condition in which the human male has an extra Y chromosome. Detectives formed the view that Kiszko fitted the profile of the person likely to have killed Lesley even though he had never been in trouble with the law and had no social life beyond his parents.

Three 13-year-old girls claimed that he exposed himself to them just before Lesley was murdered. This was one of the things that attracted police to Kiszko in the first place and pursued evidence which might incriminate him while other leads could have taken their inquiries in other directions.

After two days of questioning, he signed a confession. He later complained that the confession had been bullied out of him but was convicted of murder and jailed for life.

Kiszko spent 16 years in prison until he was released in 1992 . He died of a heart attack the following year at his mother's home, aged 44. His mother, Charlotte, who had waged a long campaign to prove her son's innocence, died six months later.

One of Kiszko's 'behavioural abnormalities'' was jotting down the registration numbers of a car if he had been annoyed by the driver. This led, in part, to his wrongful conviction - he had at some point prior to the murder unwittingly jotted down the number of a car seen near the scene of the crime and it was argued that only someone at the scene could have known the number of this car.

As part of his condition Kiszko would have been physically incapable of the sex crime of which he was convicted but that was something which was never disclosed to his defence or demonstrated at the trial. The pathologist who examined Lesley's clothes found traces of sperm, whereas the semen sample taken from Kiszko by the police contained no sperm.

The teenage girls who made the exposure claims were commended by the judge, Mr Justice Park, for their 'bravery and honesty'' and 'sharp observations'' after Kiszko's conviction was secured by a 10-2 jury verdict on July 21 at Leeds Crown Court Crown Court after a two week trial. All three later admitted in 1991, during the investigation of Kiszko's conviction, that what they said was false and admitted that what they said in 1975 and 1976 was done for 'a laugh'.

In early 1991 his lawyer Campbell Malone, with the help of private detective Peter Jackson urged the Home Office to reopen the case, which was then referred back to the West Yorkshire Police after a long campaign by his mother to prove his innocence. Kiszko was released on February 18 1992.

Lord Chief Justice Lane said: 'It has been shown that this man cannot produce sperm. This man cannot have been the person responsible for ejaculating over the girl's knickers and skirt, and consequently cannot have been the murderer'.

The Molseed family apologised to Kiszko for the things they had said about him, both at the trial and after the conviction, such as calling for him to be hanged. They agreed to meet Kiszko's mother and apologised to her as well. After he was released, Kiszko was told he would receive £500,000 in compensation for the years he spent in prison. He received an interim payment but neither he nor his mother got the full amount as both died before they were due to receive it.

Kiszko became a recluse and showed no interest in anything or anyone and other people's encouragement and support seemed to frighten him on the rare occasions when he ventured out. Kiszko died of a massive heart attack two days before Christmas in 1993, the 18th anniversary of the false confession which led to the conviction that destroyed his life. His mother died in early May 1994.

A book was subsequently written about the miscarriage of justice, entitled Innocents by Jonathan Rose, a barrister in Leeds.

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