Castree guilty of Molseed murder

12 November 2007
Yorkshire Post

A comic book dealer has been jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 30 years for the murder of schoolgirl Lesley Molseed more than 30 years ago. The 11-year-old, who had learning difficulties, went missing while running an errand for her mother in Rotherham on Sunday October 5, 1975. Her body was found three days later on moorland near the Manchester Yorkshire border. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed to death.

Ronald Castree, of Shaw in Oldham, shrugged when a jury at Bradford Crown Court today found him guilty of Lesley's murder. When sentenced, he tried to protest to the judge but was taken away by guards.

His semen had been found on the little girl's underwear but the technology was not available in 1975 to identify whose DNA the sample belonged to. He was arrested for Lesley's murder in 2006 after a DNA check, run on a sample taken from Castree for an unrelated matter in 2005, flagged up the Molseed case. The schoolgirl's case had been reviewed in 1999 when tests run on the preserved semen sample from 1975 had provided a full DNA profile. The samples were an exact match.

The jury had heard Castree was a convicted child abuser, having admitted snatching a young girl from a street, just nine months after Lesley's murder, in 1976. The nine-year-old was abducted from a street less than half a mile from Lesley's home in Rochdale, taken to a derelict building and sexually assaulted. She managed to escape and tell her mother what had happened. She later identified Castree to police and magistrates fined him £25.

Castree's conviction is the final vindication of Stefan Kiszko, who was initially convicted of Lesley's murder but later released on appeal. The 23-year-old loner who lived with his mother Charlotte at their home in Kings Road, Rochdale, admitted killing Lesley after hours of questioning without a solicitor present, but later withdrew his confession.

He served 16 years in prison before he was released at appeal when it was revealed he was infertile because of a medical condition, could not have left the semen at the murder scene and was not the killer. Mr Kiszko died of a massive heart attack the year after his release from prison. His release rocked the legal system, and the case was viewed as Britain's worst miscarriage of justice.

Castree, who said he could not explain how his semen came to be on Lesley's underwear, claimed through his defence team that another man was responsible for her murder - convicted paedophile Raymond Hewlett.

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. Hewlett was interviewed in connection with the case after Mr Kiszko's release but there was not enough evidence to build a case against him. DNA checks later showed his was not the semen found on Lesley's clothing.

Sentencing him, judge Mr Justice Openshaw condemned Castree for remaining silent for more than 30 years. "You kept quiet whilst an entirely innocent man was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced for this murder. He served fully 16 years before his conviction was fully set aside, living only a couple of years after his release before he died."

After the verdict Det Chief Supt Max McLean said: "West Yorkshire Police has never given up on this investigation. We are pleased for Lesley's family that this case has at last been resolved. "Lesley was abducted and brutally killed. She was taken from the safety of her home and community, subjected to a terrifying and frenzied attack and then abandoned in the bleakest of resting places. "No one deserves the kind of anxiety that Lesley's family has endured over the years not knowing, until now, who killed her."

1 Responses to "Castree guilty of Molseed murder"
IRONSIDE said...

Telegraph 13 Nov 2007


detectives took a swab of Castree's DNA and a year later a "cold case" review team set up by West Yorkshire Police found this to be an exact match with samples retained from the Lesley Molseed murder scene.


Detectives (NOT MCCanns PIs) it is claimed took a DNA swab from Hewlett in Germany...

So, they now have his DNA

Feb 17, 2010, 12:58:00 AM
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