DNA 'doubt' in Lesley case

DNA 'doubt' in Lesley case
26 October 2007
Manchester Evening News
Nicola Dowling

A forensic expert who saw Lesley Molseed's body on the moors said the person whose DNA was on her clothes might not be her murderer. Ronald Castree, 53, of Brandon Crescent, Shaw, Oldham, is charged with sexually assaulting the 11-year-old Rochdale girl and stabbing her to death in 1975. He denies the charge. The prosecution says DNA taken from semen found in Lesley's underwear is an exact match to that taken from Castree when he was arrested on an unrelated matter in 2005.

But, Ronald Outteridge, one of the forensic experts involved in the original murder investigation, said semen could have been left in a separate incident before Lesley was killed. He had first made the point in 2001, during a cold case review meeting to discuss a DNA sample obtained from the semen sample using the latest profiling technology.

Notes of that meeting, read to Bradford Crown Court by Rodney Jameson QC, defending, quoted Mr Outteridge saying: "She might have been a victim of another assault before her murder. She might have been wearing her knickers in a bed where intercourse had taken place between other parties."

When questioned about this, Mr Outteridge - the only 'able person' still alive who visited the murder scene - told the court: "The semen might have been connected with the murder and it might not." Mr Jameson asked Mr Outteridge if the semen could have been transferred on to the little girl's underwear if she had sat in a taxi where someone had previously had sex. He replied: "You can make an almost endless list of possibilities if you want to."

Earlier in the trial the court was told that nine months after Lesley disappeared Castree had pleaded guilty to abducting and committing a sexual assault and act of gross indecency on another little girl from the area. Proceeding

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