Police open third inquiry into 1975 killing of girl, 11

3 May 2001
Ian Herbert
The Independent

The long and ill-fated hunt for the killer of Lesley Molseed, the 11-year-old girl murdered and dumped on Pennine moorland 26 years ago, is to be relaunched. The case is infamous for the wrongful conviction and 16-year imprisonment of Stefan Kiszko, who died in 1993 - the year after he was eventually acquitted and freed. DNA evidence from semen, found on Lesley's body but not revealed in court, proved he could not have been the murderer.

The new inquiry will - like a second investigation into the death 10 years ago - centre on suspicions that Raymond Hewlett, a former Scots Guardsman and fairground worker, killed Lesley, who was sexually assaulted and stabbed 12 times in 1975 after setting off on an errand for her mother.

At the time of Lesley's murder, Mr Hewlett lived in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. He fled West Yorkshire for the Republic of Ireland within days of the crime, by that time already carrying a criminal record of crimes against young girls that had seen him serve two prison sentences, one of 18 months and the other of four-years.

Police, realising the Kiszko conviction was flawed, questioned Mr Hewlett in 1993, after he was released from a six-year sentence for the kidnap of a 14-year-old girl doing her paper round in Northwich, Cheshire. The former soldier was freed because of a lack of evidence.

The new inquiry team will examine evidence recently gathered by a Sunday tabloid newspaper, which suggested Lesley was lured into the grip of a paedophile ring before her murder and knew the identity of her abductor. The evidence includes tape recordings of conversations between an associate of 56-year-old Mr Hewlett and the associate's wife. When questioned by her about Lesley Molseed, he replied: "You're putting me in a coffin."

The Molseed case has never been closed but now a new inquiry room is to be based at Halifax police station. Its work will include re-examination of original crime scene evidence and new cross-referencing of witness statements against various police databases.

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