Forensic expert re-lives Molseed murder scene

25 October 2007
Press Association
Amy Caulfield

A court heard evidence today from the only living witness to visit the place where 11-year-old Lesley Molseed was found murdered more than 30 years ago. Ronald Outteridge, a retired forensic scientist, told Bradford Crown Court how he went to a moor where Lesley's body was found to collect samples for testing. He was giving evidence at the trial of Ronald Castree, 54, of Shaw, Oldham, who is accused of murdering the young girl in October 1975. Cross-examining Mr Outteridge, defence barrister Rodney Jameson QC, told the jury how anyone else who visited the scene of the murder at the time had since died.
He said: "You are the only witness that is going to come and tell them (the jury), or is capable of telling them, about the scene itself, having been there yourself."

The court was told how Mr Outteridge saw Lesley's body on the moor on October 8 1975, the day she was found, and took items of her clothing to a laboratory in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, to be tested for foreign bodies and semen.

The jury has heard how Lesley was murdered in a "frenzied attack" after she went missing from her home in Rochdale while she was running an errand for her mother.

Her body was found on moors on the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester border, 30 to 40 yards away from the A672 Oldham to Ripponden road, near the M62 motorway, three days after she went missing.

An innocent man, tax clerk Stefan Kiszko, was later convicted of her murder and spent 16 years in jail for a crime he did not commit, the jury has heard.

Mr Outteridge said that examination of the body on the moor did not indicate that it was a sexual murder. "The knickers were in the normal wearing position, the skirt, I think, was rucked up, it was not indicative of normal sexual assault," he told the court.

Tests at the laboratory found four "superficial" fibres on the clothes, while another scientific test - described as an AP test - found "light" semen staining in the girl's knickers and on the inside front and back of her skirt, the jury was told.

The jury has heard how DNA taken from Castree has been found to be an exact match with DNA taken from the semen found on Lesley's knickers., But Mr Jameson today told the court that, at a cold case review of the murder in October 2001, Mr Outteridge said it could not be proved that someone who matched the DNA taken from Lesley's clothes had murdered her.

Mr Outteridge said: "To do that it would be necessary to prove that the semen was deposited during the murder of the little girl and I found no evidence to show that was the case. It might have been, it might not."

Mr Jameson then suggested other possibilities as to how the semen could have been found on Lesley's clothing, including that she was subject to a sexual assault unconnected to the murder or that she had been wearing the knickers and had come into contact with semen in some other way, such as sitting on a taxi seat where ejaculation had taken place. Mr Outteridge said he could make an "almost endless list of possibilities" but did not want to speculate. He added: "The fact that there was semen staining there, it might have been relevant to the murder and it might not."

The jury also heard how the cold case review revealed the DNA profile taken from Lesley's clothing had been compared to 24 potential suspects but all had drawn negative results. Castree, who sat in the dock wearing a suit and tie, denies the murder of Lesley Molseed between October 4 and October 9, 1975.

The trial was adjourned to Monday morning.

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