DNA proof traps real killer after 32 years

15 November 2007 
The New Paper

He lived like a free man for 32 years. He kept quiet as an innocent man was sent to jail for his horrendous crime. But, on Monday, justice was finally served on UK comic-book dealer Ronald Castree, 54, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting and killing an 11-year-old girl, Lesley Molseed, in 1975. His DNA samples matched the semen stains found in Lesley's underwear. Judge Openshaw, who presided over the trial, recommended at least 30 years in prison without parole for Castree, reported The Times, London.


Lesley's family was jubilant that the actual murderer had finally been served justice. Her sisters, Ms Julie Crabbe, 48, and Ms Laura Huish, 45, attended the court hearing along with their mother, Ms April Garrett. Their mother said: 'We are relieved that after so long our quest for justice for Lesley is now over. It's been a long and harrowing ordeal.' Lesley's brother, Freddie, was not there to see his sister's killer go to prison. He committed suicide two years ago as, it is believed, he never got over his sister's murder.

Lesley was kidnapped by Castree in October 1975 when she was out buying a loaf of bread for her mother. Her family reported her missing when she did not return home after the errand. Her body was found with 12 stab wounds three days later. The trial bought back memories of Lesley for her family.

Recalling her murdered daughter, Ms Garrett said that Lesley was an 'enchanting' child. The case was all the more heartbreaking as Lesley was born with heart problems and had learning disabilities.

While the judgment may have bought relief to Lesley's family, another family had to bear the pain of their loved one serving a long prison sentence despite being innocent. Inland Revenue clerk Stefan Kiszko was wrongly sentenced to life imprisonment for Lesley's murder in 1976. He tried to prove his innocence by appealing against the sentence in 1978, but failed. However, in 1992, he was released after scientific evidence ruled him out as Lesley's killer.

He had spent 16 years in jail. But it took another 15 years before his name was cleared in connection with the murder. Mr Kiszko died in his home in December 1993.


In 2001, West Yorkshire police relaunched an enquiry into Lesley's murder. In connection with the gross miscarriage of justice in Mr Kiszko's case, former detective superintendent Dick Holland and Mr Ronald Outteridge, a retired forensic scientist, were summoned by the Lancashire police in 1994 for 'doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice'.

However, the two policemen were not prosecuted. Castree's DNA sample came into the hands of the police after he was suspected of being involved in a serious sexual attack in 2005.

According to Detective Chief Superintendent Max McLean: 'Lesley was abducted and brutally killed. No one deserves the kind of anxiety that Lesley's family has endured over the years not knowing, until now, who killed her.'

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