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Child killer traced by DNA, 32 years on

  • Story Highlights
  • Man jailed over brutal murder of 11-year-old girl in northern England in 1975
  • Lesley Molseed was attacked while running an errand near he Rochdale home
  • Ronald Castree, 54, linked to case by DNA sample provided for another inquiry
  • Another man, Stefan Kiszko, wrongly served 16 years in prison for the killing
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A man who murdered an 11-year-old girl more than 30 years ago has finally been jailed -- after police traced a DNA sample he had provided for a separate investigation back to the case.


Lesley Molseed was killed in a "frenzied attack" while running an errand for her mother in 1975.

Ronald Castree, a 54-year-old comic book dealer from Oldham, northern England, was found guilty of murdering Lesley Molseed in 1975, the UK's Press Association reported.

Lesley, 11, had been running an errand for her mother near her home in Rochdale, near Manchester, when she was killed in a sexually-motivated "frenzied attack."

Castree was jailed for life with a recommendation that he serve at least 30 years behind bars. An innocent man, Stefan Kiszko, wrongly served 16 years in prison for the murder until his release in 1992. Kiszko died as a result of a heart condition the following year.

"You kept quiet whilst an entirely innocent man was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced for this murder," the judge told Castree. "He served fully 16 years before his conviction was fully set aside, living only a couple of years after his release before he died."

Police investigators had re-opened the case of Lesley's murder even before Kiszko's release -- with several notorious serial killers and pedophiles among those suspected of carrying out the attack.

Although Lesley's clothes had been destroyed in 1985, a few fibres had been preserved attached to strips of adhesive tape from which forensic scientists were able to extract samples of the killer's bodily fluids.

The breakthrough came when Castree was arrested in Oldham in 2005 and provided a routine DNA sample over an incident "unrelated and irrelevant" to Lesley's murder.

Analysts later compared the sample to the bodily fluids extracted from Lesley's clothes and uncovered a complete DNA match. Castree was arrested in November last year.

Detective Chief Superintendent Max McLean of West Yorkshire Police said detectives had never given up on the case -- and said Castree's conviction had only been made possible by new legislation introduced two years ago in the UK allowing police to retain DNA samples even if a suspect is not convicted.

"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.

"They have been extremely supportive of the work that we have done and I am delighted that Castree has been brought to justice for their sake."

Commenting on Stefan Kiszko's wrongful conviction, McLean admitted a "dreadful miscarriage of justice" had occurred.


"I am so pleased today we have put things right. We have got the real killer and this man (Kiszko) played a huge role in that."

Reading a briet statement outside the court, Lesley's mother, April Garrett, said: "We are relieved that after so long our quest for justice for Lesley is now over. It's been a long and harrowing ordeal and our gratitude to the friends, family and strangers throughout the world who have given us their support is immense." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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