Why can't I join the police?

18 July 2008
Rossendale Free Press
Simon Coyle

The son of a convicted murderer is furious after his application for a job with the police was rejected due to his father’s criminal background. Nick Tighe, of Rawtenstall, was told last week that his application to become either a Pcso or a detention officer with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) would not be processed any further.

It comes after his dad Ronald Castree, 54, was jailed for a minimum of 30 years last November for the infamous murder of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed in 1975.

Nick, who currently works supporting people with mental health issues, said:
‘How can I change my life when I am being restricted this way? ‘My whole life has been turned upside down because of this man.’
The 29-year-old, who has complained to GMP about the decision, added:
‘The murder happened four years before I was born. Why should I be penalised for it? He may be my biological father, but I have not seen him for 10 years. ‘Unfortunately, you can’t choose who your father is. ‘I hate him. I want him to spend the rest of his life in prison.’
Now Nick is urging others who may have had a similar experience to come forward in a bid to raise awareness and fight for change. He said:
‘Don’t be ashamed of who you are or what you are. Why should you be punished for what a relative has done? ‘I think it is totally unfair. I helped the police with their case to convict this man and this is the thanks I get. How can they know what sort of relationship I had with him? ‘I am on good terms with the Molseeds and Lesley’s sister recently told me that my nightmare was only just beginning; she was right.’
After being approached by Nick, Rossendale MP Janet Anderson has pledged to raise the issue with Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. She said:
‘I don’t think it is fair for him to be discriminated against for something his biological father did, not least because he had no real relationship with him.’
A GMP spokesman said the force had a duty to carry out thorough security checks on anyone applying for a job with them. He said:
‘Criminality involving close family members is clearly an issue that has to be considered. ‘Applicants whose close family have criminal convictions are not automatically barred from joining GMP. ‘However, issues including the seriousness of the crime and the relationship between the applicant and the family member are amongst the considerations before a final decision is made. ‘We have received a letter of complaint from Mr Tighe and will contact him in due course with the outcome.’
Lesley Molseed went missing in October 1975; she was found dead having been stabbed 12 times and sexually assaulted. But former taxi driver Castree, of Shaw, Oldham, was able to live the life of a free man for more than 30 years after ‘gentle giant’ Stefan Kiszko was wrongly convicted of the murder. He served 16 years in jail before being freed on appeal in 1992; he died, aged 41, in December 1993.

Castree, found guilty after a 12-day trial at Bradford Crown Court, is set to apply for leave to appeal his conviction at the Appeal Court in Leeds on 29 July. On the same day he will also fight to reduce the length of his sentence.

If you have suffered a similar experience to Nick or can offer him any help contact our newsdesk on 213311.

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