Forensic expert tells of moor scene where girl's body found

26 October 2007
Yorkshire Post

THE only living witness to visit the place where 11-year-old Lesley Molseed was found murdered 32 years ago gave evidence in court yesterday . Ronald Outteridge, a retired forensic scientist, said he was convinced the schoolgirl was killed at the lonely moorland spot where her body was found.Ronald Castree, 54, of Shaw, Oldham, who is on trial at Bradford Crown Court, denies murdering her in October 1975.

Rodney Jameson QC, defending, said to Mr Outteridge: "You are the only witness that is going to come and talk about the scene itself, having been there yourself."

The jury has heard Lesley was murdered in a "frenzied attack" after she went missing from her home in Rochdale while running an errand for her mother. Her body was found three days later on the West Yorkshire moors, 30 to 40 yards away from the A672 Oldham to Ripponden road, near the M62 motorway.

Innocent Stefan Kiszko, a tax clerk, was convicted of her murder and spent 16 years in jail.

Mr Outteridge said an examination of her body on the moors did not at first indicate that it was a sexual murder because although the schoolgirl's skirt was rucked up, her under-garments were in the normal wearing position. He also said the bloodstains were consistent with her being killed where she lay, and said her body could not have been taken there by car after death.

Tests at the laboratory found "light" semen staining in the girl's clothing, the jury was told. The jury has heard that DNA taken from Castree has been found to be an exact match with DNA taken from that semen. But Mr Jameson told the court that, at a cold case review of the murder in October 2001, Mr Outteridge had told colleagues that the fact that somebody's was a match for that DNA did not prove they 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 suggested there were numerous possibilities for how the semen could have got there, including a sexual assault unconnected to the murder, or that she came into contact with it while wearing those clothes, for example by sitting on a taxi seat where someone had had sex.

Mr Outteridge said he could make an "almost endless list of possibilities" but did not want to speculate. "The fact that there was semen staining there, it might have been relevant to the murder and it might not."

When re-examined later by prosecutor Julian Goose QC, he admitted it was highly unlikely the DNA could have got on Lesley's clothes from a taxi seat. "That's not a terribly valid scenario."

The trial resumes on Monday.

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