Mother waits with hope of seeing justice

14 April 2001
Yorkshire Post

Twenty-five years after the murder of her 11-year-old daughter Lesley Molseed, April Garrett tells Robert Sutcliffe that recent police moves to find the killer means she can now see light at the end of the tunnel. Lesley Molseed was a born fighter. As a baby she underwent the trauma of open heart surgery and spent her first year in a Glasswegian hospital battling for survival. Her mother, April Garrett, recalls that she left the hospital a year later, the same weight, 7lb 4oz, as when she was born. She won that battle and grew up enjoying everything life had to offer. But her courage was no protection against the merciless brutality of an unknown assassin who stabbed her to death on a remote moor 25 years ago.

April, 63, who has three grown-up children, of Littleborough, near Rochdale, says: "I could have accepted it if she had died on the operating table but not the way it happened. "It has been absolutely dreadful. It didn't split the family but it was like an implosion not an explosion. "We imploded and everybody grieved in their separate ways. I have read of families who grew closer together when something like this happened but we all grieved in our own separate ways. "There was no counselling in those days and I switched off for two to three years and didn't attend to the needs of my family. I always feel that I let them down, I just went my own way. They needed some comfort and I take a lot of the blame for not providing it."

But she says that this week's meeting with Det Chief Supt Max McLean has been helpful in giving all the family fresh hope. She said: "We had no faith in West Yorkshire Police after everything that happened. If it had been in my power to do something about it I would have sued them but you can't. "It was inhuman, their treatment towards us, we were always swept under the table. They even tried to lock us out of the public gallery at the first trial, it was terrible.

"So this has been 'clean-out' time with Mr McLean and we are prepared to give him a chance. We will trust him and he has helped restore our faith in the police service. We were very impressed by his honesty and enthusiasm and he has promised to keep in touch."

She says the strain of Lesley's loss has damaged the health of her family and her own in particular. In the last three years she suffered depression, a brain haemorrhage and six weeks ago she had major heart surgery. She added: "There has got to be a reason for keeping me alive and maybe this is it." Of Lesley's death she says: "I couldn't believe I wouldn't see that wee girl again. When I went to identify her body, I did it on my own, my husband Danny couldn't bear to come in, he adored her. "It was like she was sleeping and I went to give her a hug but I couldn't touch her, it was against the rules, and that was hard. That was the last time I saw her. "She was a lovely girl, my little angel. She used to sing the shopping lists and I used to send her to the shops just so I could hear her sing."

Three weeks ago Mr McLean named convicted child abuser Raymond Hewlett, formerly of Todmorden, as the prime suspect they want to question in connection with her murder.

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