Detectives name top suspect in hunt for child killer

22 March 2001
Robert Sutcliffe
Yorkshire Post

A convicted child abuser has been named by detectives as the prime suspect they want to question in connection with the murder of an 11-year-old schoolgirl 26 years ago. Lesley Molseed's body was found near Ripponden on October 5, 1975. She had been stabbed a dozen times with a knife. The youngster had been abducted three days earlier while running an errand for her mum near their home in Rochdale. Det Chief Supt Max McLean, who is leading the investigation, said he was confident he would find Raymond Hewlett, a former Todmorden man, aged 56.  Officers are following up 148 leads in a dossier following a Sunday newspaper investigation.

Mr McLean said: "We will find him, it is important for my investigation that we find him. Children have previously been his victims and I would like to locate and interview him. We do have information that he is working on trawlers internationally and he could literally be anywhere. "We looked for him for a year during 1999 and couldn't find him. We know that he has connections with Ireland, the north of Scotland and Italy and we are concerned that he has travelled to those regions in the recent past."

He added: "Lesley's murder is a case that is very close to our hearts in West Yorkshire and this is a case we would dearly love to detect, we are all affected by the problems occasioned by the wrongful conviction of Stefan Kiszko." Mr Kiszko was the Inland Revenue clerk who was cleared of Lesley's murder after 16 years in jail but who died of a heart attack soon after his release.

Hewlett had lived at Dineley Avenue, Todmorden, in 1975 followed by spells in Scotland and Ireland.

Lesley's mum, April Garrett, of Littleborough, near Rochdale, said: "I am hopeful that the police will find him but I am also very practical and we have had our hopes raised only to be dashed so many times before.  "We will have a much better idea of what the police know when we meet with them and our solicitor on April 11. Until then I am not getting too excited.  "To me what happened to Lesley was just like yesterday though time has helped me compose my emotions better and not break down all the time.  My regret is that I still feel guilt over arguing with her over whether she could have 3p or 6p for the errand.

"Hewlett has a dreadful track record both here and in Ireland and Italy. Apparently we were quite closely connected through friends of friends when he lived in Todmorden. "He knew quite a few people in the area, Turf Hill, where we lived at that time but I can't recall him."

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