Man denies Molseed murder

20 April 2007
Halifax Evening Courier

A man has denied murdering schoolgirl Lesley Molseed 32 years ago in a brutal sexually motivated stabbing. Ronald Castree, 53, yesterday pleaded not guilty at Bradford Crown Court to the murder committed between October 4 and October 9, 1975.

The former market trader, of Brandon Crescent, Shaw, Oldham, was charged in November last year as new evidence came to light in the historic case. Barrister Jonathan Rose, author of the 1998 book Innocents about Lesley's murder, represented Castree. The proceedings were watched by a packed public gallery, including Lesley's family and a number of police officers.

Lesley was 11 when she disappeared after leaving her home in Delamere Road, Rochdale, on October 5, 1975. Her body was discovered three days later on Windy Hill moor above the A627 Oldham-Halifax road in Ripponden. She had been stabbed 12 times and sexually assaulted.

Following a major police investigation, in which nearly 6,000 statements were taken and more than 12,000 people spoken to within the first three months, Stefan Kiszko, a tax clerk from Rochdale, was wrongly convicted of her murder. He spent 16 years in prison before being released in 1992 following an appeal. The investigation was reopened in 2001 and featured on BBC's Crimewatch in February 2003 after officers made a breakthrough in DNA techniques.

Mr Rose made a bail application in chambers on behalf of Castree and Judge Gullick is expected to make his decision on Monday. Castree was remanded in custody.

The trial, expected to last nine weeks, was moved from June to October 22.

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