DNA match ruled out paedophile who was once prime suspect for murder

13 November 2007
Yorkshire Post

Ronald Castree's barrister claimed his client was not Lesley Molseed's killer, and even named the man who "probably" murdered her - a paedophile called Raymond Hewlett.

Nobody knows where Hewlett is currently - he was last seen in Spain many years ago and is even now thought to be living somewhere in continental Europe - but the reality is that despite once being the prime suspect in the case, Hewlett was only ever a smokescreen introduced to the trial by Castree's legal team.

After DNA tests came back with an exact match for the killer last year, there was only ever one name in the frame - Ronald Castree.

For a while though, Hewlett did seem to fit the bill.

The former Scots Guardsman, trawlerman and fairground worker was living in Todmorden, 10 miles from Rochdale, when Lesley was killed. He fled West Yorkshire for the Republic of Ireland soon after the murder. He had a record of crimes against girls for which he had served 18- month and four-year sentences.

It was only after his release from a later six-year sentence for kidnapping a 14-year-old girl on a paper round in Cheshire, that police, realising the Kiszko conviction was flawed, questioned Hewlett in 1993. Most of his answers consisted of: "No reply".

He was linked to the scene of the crime as he owned a blue Morris van which matched the descriptions of 14 people who saw one parked in a lay-by at Ripponden on the day of Lesley's abduction. But it was insufficient evidence and he was released.

Then in 2003 came the bombshell that detectives had managed to obtain a DNA profile from the semen left at the murder scene and were finally able to rule out Hewlett.

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