New investigation leads to arrest for 1975 murder of Lesley Molseed

6 November 2006
The Guardian
Helen Carter

A 53-year-old man was arrested yesterday on suspicion of the murder of Lesley Molseed more than 31 years ago, a case that led to one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the UK. The man, who has not been named, was arrested in Oldham, Greater Manchester, by West Yorkshire police in connection with the murder of the 11-year-old schoolgirl, who disappeared near her home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in October 1975 as she ran an errand to a nearby shop. Her body was found three days later dumped on the moors above Ripponden, West Yorkshire. She had been stabbed and sexually assaulted. A West Yorkshire police spokeswoman refused to give details yesterday but confirmed a man aged 53 from Oldham was being questioned over the murder.

During the original inquiry more than 12,000 people were spoken to and almost 5,000 statements were taken by detectives. Stefan Kiszko, a young tax clerk who had never been in trouble with the police, was arrested. He later signed a confession but claimed he was bullied into it.

Mr Kiszko had XYY syndrome, a condition where a man has an extra Y chromosome. The syndrome causes abnormalities in growth and behaviour. One of his traits was jotting down the registration number of a car if he was annoyed by the driver. This contributed to his wrongful conviction - he had noted down the number of a car later seen near the crime scene.

Mr Kiszko was jailed for murder but his mother, Charlotte, insisted he was innocent and campaigned for his release.

In January 1992 he was cleared on appeal after DNA profiling found that he was sterile and semen found on Lesley's body could not have been his. He was later released but died of a heart attack in December 1993 at the age of 44.

In May 1995 it was announced that former superintendent Richard Holland and forensic scientist Ronald Outteridge, who were involved in the original investigation, would not face trial for perverting the course of justice after magistrates ruled further proceedings in the crown court would be "an abuse of process".

Four years later West Yorkshire police had the forensic science service produce a DNA profile from semen found on Lesley's body. The investigation featured on the BBC Crimewatch programme in February 2003 and more than 250 calls were received. Detectives revealed they now had a DNA profile from the crime scene. As a result of the appeal they contacted 90 suspects and obtained DNA samples.

At that time Lesley's mother, April, said she was "absolutely elated" about the new DNA evidence.

Referring to Lesley's disappearance she said: "After two hours I knew she was gone - I could feel it in the whole of my body. And I never lost that feeling, it just grew stronger and stronger and I thought 'I'm never going to see her again'."

Stefan Kiszko, wrongly jailed for killing Lesley Molseed, died soon after his release

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