DNA test clears murder suspect

February 05, 2003
Rochdale Observer
Adam Derbyshire

The prime suspect in the Lesley Molseed murder inquiry has been cleared as a result of sensational new DNA evidence, it can be revealed today. Convicted paedophile Raymond Hewlett - the man named in a 1997 book - is not the killer of the 11-year-old schoolgirl who was abducted from Stiups Lane, Turf Hill, on 5 October 1975.

Her body was found three days later on desolate moorland above the A627 Oldham-to-Halifax Road. She had been stabbed 12 times. The man convicted of her murder, Rochdale Inland Revenue clerk, Stefan Kiszko, was cleared of the crime by Appeal Court judges in February 1992 after spending 16 years in prison. He died shortly afterwards.

Detectives now have a DNA profile of the murderer after a police forensic team used pioneering new techniques to test semen recovered at the scene. Today, West Yorkshire Police are launching a major appeal in a bid to finally trap her killer and bring him to justice after 27 years. The story will feature in tonight's Crimewatch programme on BBC1

Detective Chief Superintendent Max Mclean, who is in charge of the investigation, said: "Raymond Hewlett has been named as a suspect in the past. But I can categorically state that he is not the killer. "He does not match the DNA profile we have."

Mr Mclean recovered the sample from a criminal evidence laboratory in Wetherby soon after he was appointed to head the investigation. He said: "I asked the forensic team if they had any material left from the original murder investigation. We uncovered a semen sample and from this we managed to acquire a DNA profile.

"This is the biggest breakthrough in this inquiry to date. We will never have a better opportunity to crack this case than we do now."

Now, Mr Mclean is urging Rochdale's townsfolk to come forward with names of people they suspect murdered Lesley. "It may be that someone has harboured a suspicion for 27 years that a friend, relative, or acquaintance could have killed this little girl. We now have the ability, through the development of scientific methods to eliminate these people once and for all. It is an extremely simple procedure, which involves us taking a mouth swab. We have already eliminated 300 people and are continuing to work through our list of suspects."

Mr Mclean even wants the name of suspects who are now dead. "It could be a husband, boyfriend, partner, or brother. There are simple scientific tests we can undertake to determine whether they are responsible for her death. I want to stress to people that it is impossible for Stefan Kiszko to have been involved in this crime. Get the image out of your mind. He was not the killer.

"This is a murder inquiry that West Yorkshire Police are desperate to solve. We know we have got it wrong in the past and we would dearly love to put that right both for the Molseed family and the memory of Stefan Kiszko."

Anyone with information is urged to contact the incident room at Halifax police station on 01422 337047.
BBC1 will broadcast the appeal - including an interview with Lesley's mum April - on Crimewatch tonight at 9pm.

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