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 UK Miscarriages of Justice Thread, Keeping tabs - there's a lot of it about
The Antagonist
Posted: Mar 16 2007, 11:09 AM


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Most folk here will know about the ongoing miscarriage of justice that Harry Roberts is suffering, being as he is still in prison 10 years after his release date came and went. We also know the stories of the Birmingham 6, the Guildford 4, the Maguire Seven, Judith Ward and Danny McNamee in which evidence was manufactured to secure a conviction while evidence that would clear the accused was actively suppressed. We also know of the extra-judicial killing of Human Rights lawyer, Pat Finucane, a killing in which the state colluded with loyallist paramilitaries.

See also the Nuala O'Loan report issued recently which 'discovered' (perhaps more correctly 'reported on') state collusion and complicity in over a dozen murders.

This thread is for keeping tabs on similar massive miscarriages of justice that should make us all proud of our glorious system of law and order that is quite happy to convict innocent people in favour of leaving the most heinous of crimes unsolved and their perpetrators unpunished.

Here's the Hickey's:

QUOTE
Injustice multiplied.
By septicisle
.

Imagine, if you will, that you've been wrongly convicted of murder. That your conviction itself was the result of the police fabricating evidence and beating you and the others convicted alongside yourself. That during your 18 years in prison, you were regarded as amongst the lowest of the low as a result of the fact that you were convicted of killing a child, enduring assault and having your food tampered with on numerous occasions, including being tainted with glass and urine.

After those 18 years you're finally free, and cleared of any involvement in the now unsolved murder. In the compensation paid out to you however, the Home Office deducts what it regards as a suitable amount for your board and lodging. Somehow, the fact that even outside prison you still have to pay for the time you wrongly spent inside, eating tampered with food, every day wondering whether you'd ever escape from what one judge would eventually describe as a "prolonged kidnapping" adds insult on to over a decade of injury.

This is what the Hickeys, two of those convicted of murdering the newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater, have now had to face up to. Appealing to the highest court in the land against this obvious and disgraceful injustice, they lost by a majority decision of 4-1. The judges, trying to justify the unjustifiable, suggested the deductions should be seen as "expenses" they would have had to pay if they had in fact been able to work. That's all right then.


The Guardian article covering the story, a massive 294 words long:
QUOTE
Wrongly jailed cousins must pay 'expenses'
Clare Dyer, legal editor
Thursday March 15, 2007
The Guardian


Two men who spent more than 12 years in jail for a murder they did not commit must pay the "living expenses" they incurred in prison from their compensation, the court of appeal ruled yesterday.

By a four-one majority, five law lords upheld the deduction from the Home Office compensation awarded to cousins Vincent and Michael Hickey for their wrongful conviction in 1979 for the murder of newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater.

In the first case of its kind to go to court, the pair argued that it was wrong in principle to charge what was, in effect, board and lodging during their unjustified incarceration. But the ruling against them by the House of Lords enshrines in law the practice by Home Office-appointed independent assessors of deducting living expenses from the part of the award covering lost earnings. The Hickeys' solicitor, Susie Labinjoh of Hodge, Jones & Allen, said they were "devastated". "To deduct saved living expenses from their compensation offends against justice. We had all hoped their lordships would right this wrong."
There is no appeal against the country's highest court, and no obvious case for the European court of human rights.

The dissenting judge, Lord Rodger, likened the men's incarceration to a "prolonged kidnapping". But the majority ruled that they would have had to pay for accommodation and food had they been outside in the working world. They said the 25% deduction from lost earnings - amounting to a cut of £51,036 for Vincent Hickey and £46,215 for his cousin - should not be seen as board and lodging, but as expenses they would have had to pay from their earnings if they had been able to work.
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The Antagonist
Posted: Apr 27 2007, 12:21 AM


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I only post this here as it appears the combined forces of Crown and cops have racked up a trio of their old tricks:
QUOTE
Rape case in 'miscarriage' probe
Last Updated: Thursday, 26 April 2007, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK


The case of a former Aberdeen golf professional who was jailed for five years for rape is to be referred back to the High Court.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has referred Graham Gordon's case amid concerns there could have been a miscarriage of justice.

He was convicted at the High Court in Stonehaven in 2002.

The SCCRC said it had uncovered new evidence not available at the time of the trial.

It also said there could have been a miscarriage due to a failure by the Crown to disclose information to the defence, a failure by the police to disclose information to the Crown, and police failing to carry out certain investigations.

The trial had heard how Gordon took the woman concerned to his Bridge of Don home after meeting her in a city nightclub.
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The Antagonist
Posted: Jun 30 2007, 02:37 AM


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Lessons from history.
QUOTE
Militant, November 1989, Editorial Statement
Free the 'Birmingham Six'


The Tory government and the British legal system now admit to a serious miscarriage of justice in the case of the Guildford 4. It has taken them 15 years to do so. The whole case is an indictment oLf the methods of the British state and its legal system. However this is not an isolated 'mistake'.

Many others remain in prison for crimes they did not commit. Most notable is the case of the Birmingham 6. Frederick Engels once remarked that the state, in the last analysis, can be reduced to armed bodies of men, judges, courts and prisons acting in the interests of the capitalist class.

Judges, army officers, police chiefs and senior civil servants are generally drawn from the capitalist class. One report on army officers said that 77% were drawn from the 'A-B' socio-economic group. In other words from the top 12% of British society. Even those who not drawn from this group soon absorb its class outlook.

The state does not act as an independent arbitrator in disputes which emerge within society. The state, acting in the interests of the capitalist class, defends its power, privilege and profit. The use of the police in strikes and the use of judges to shackle the trade union movement exposes their real anti-working class character.

The judge at the trial of the Guildford 4 was Lord Donaldson. In the 12970's he was head of the Tories Industrial relations Court. So one sided were his rulings that 188 Labour Mps attempted to have him impeached for political bias.

In Britain minority groups, such as blacks, Asians and Irish are always discriminated against by the state. Recent rape cases have also shown that these institutions are also biased against women.

The entire Labour and trade union movement in Britain and Ireland should now demand the immediate quashing of the convictions of the Birmingham 6. Paddy Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Gerry Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, Billy power and Johnny Walker were all arrested after the Birmingham pub bombings which killed 21 people on 21st November 1974.

All six were brutally beaten while in custody. Forensic tests showed that two of them had traces of nitro-glycerine on their hands. The tests which showed this were carried out by Dr. Frank Skuse, a Home Office forensic scientist. But his test as since been discredited.

In May 1985 World in Action commissioned two distinguished forensic scientists to carry out a series of tests for nitro-glycerine using Skuse's method. They proved that many household items such as lacquer, the coating on cigarette packets, postcards and playing cards, all give a positive reading for nitro-glycerine using Skuse's method.

Early retirement
Skuse later retired at the age of 50! When asked to comment about his early retirement the Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, replied that it was not the practice to do so when it was 'in the public interest'!!

Four of the Birmingham 6 made statements, beaten out of them, which implicated the six. All these were later retracted. It has now come to light that this is not the first time innocent men have made confessions implicating them in crimes they did not commit.

In 1984, 23-year-old Derek Gordon confessed to the West Midlands Crime Squad - which dealt with the Birmingham 6 case. He signed a two-page confession admitting that he had killed a local publican. However he was released 8 months later after another man came forward and admitted the crime.

Last September the West Midland's Serious Crime Squad was disbanded. They are now being investigated for fabricating confession evidence in local cases which have fallen through. The Special Branch officer, Fred Willoughby, who arrested five of the Six now says he has serious doubts about the prosecution evidence.

Savage beating
No one can dispute that the Birmingham 6 were subject to savage beatings between their arrest and shortly after their arrival in Birmingham's Winston Green prison. The reality is that the Six received beatings from police officers and prison warders.

Three prison warders have admitted that the Six were beaten before they arrived at the prison. One of them saw Johnny Walker strip. "I saw bruises on many parts of his body. His torso was more or less covered. They were all colours. Black, blue yellow, purple and most of them looked oldish (several days old)". In 1976, 14 prison officers were charged with assaulting the Six. They were all found not guilty of assaulting the men. But the question remained. Who had?

When the Six attempted to take a civil action against the police for the assault - the only other possible culprits - they were stonewalled by the powers of the Establishment. Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning, made it clear that the ruling class could not allow their action to proceed.

"Just consider the course of events if this action is allowed to proceed to trial…. If the six men win, it will mean that the police were guilty of perjury, that they were guilty of violence and threats, that the confessions were involuntary and were improperly admitted in evidence and that the convictions were erroneous. That would mean that the Home Secretary would either have to recommend that they be pardoned or he would have to remit the case to the Court of Appeal. This is such an appalling vista that every sensible person in the land would say that it cannot be right these actions should go any further".

In other words whether the Six were innocent was unimportant. What was, was the credibility of the police, the courts and the whole apparatus of the capitalist state.

It should not be forgotten also that the Birmingham 6 and the Guildford 4 were imprisoned under a Labour Government. It was the Labour Government that introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Paul Hill was the first to be arrested under this act.

The Provisional IRA must also bear a portion of responsibility. Their bombs in Birmingham, Guildford and Woolwich left 28 people dead. This gave the capitalist state the opportunity to introduce repressive legislation and the hysteria which allowed them to lock up so many innocent people.

Campaign
The labour movement must campaign for the quashing of the sentences of the Birmingham 6 and Gilbert McNamee. It must demand a pardon for the Maguire 7 and as in all these cases, demand compensation. The labour movement must conduct a full investigation into all other similar cases, such as the Winchester 3, Judith ward and the UDR 4.

Peter Imbert, Lord Donaldson and all others directly involved in perverting the course of justice should be sacked. The Prevention of Terrorism Act and all other repressive legislation must be repealed. There must be a radical change in the laws regarding police evidence. Uncorroborated confessions must be ruled as inadmissible as evidence. The laws of conspiracy need to be scrapped.

The labour movement should conduct a through going investigation into the whole nature of the state apparatus and demand the introduction of democratic checks at all levels.

Thanks to Lord Patel of the Internet for bringing the quote from Lord Denning to my attention.
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Kier
Posted: Sep 27 2007, 06:35 PM





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QUOTE
Obituary
Jim Robinson


Convicted of the Carl Bridgewater murder, he was the resilient victim of a notorious miscarriage of justice

Melanie McFadyean
Wednesday September 26, 2007
The Guardian

Jim Robinson, one of the four men wrongly convicted of the killing of the newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater in 1978, has died of lung cancer, aged 73. His case was one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice of the modern era.

In 1979 Robinson and Vincent Hickey were jailed for life for the Bridgewater murder, which happened at Yew Tree farm near Wordsley, in the West Midlands. Hickey's cousin Michael, then only 17, was also convicted of murder and sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure. A fourth man, Patrick Molloy, was jailed for 12 years for manslaughter.

Branded a child killer, Robinson was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years, and repeatedly attacked in prison. But throughout 17 years of petitioning and campaigning, he insisted on his innocence. In 1993, he spent 82 days on the roof of Gartree prison, Leicestershire, in an effort to highlight his plight.

Eighteen years after the trial, the director of public prosecutions admitted that the convictions had been wrongly secured by the police fabrication of confession evidence. In court, Robinson's witnesses had been crushed by testimony from officers from the West Midlands serious crime squad. His principal witness, who he was with on the afternoon that Bridgewater was killed, consequently spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

Three of the four men had spent more than 18 years in jail. Molloy died in 1981, proclaiming his and his co-defendants' innocence. The police squad was wound up in 1989 after evidence came to light of fabricated confessions and planted evidence in 23 cases during the 1980s. To this day, the Bridgewater case remains unsolved.


After his release, Robinson, a onetime robber, told me in a Guardian interview that he had been a "rogue and a bastard", but he had never been vicious, or had anything to do with murder, least of all of a child. "I'm not a bad man, I'm not evil," he said, "I'm just an idiot."

But, like Molloy, Robinson might have died in jail, had it not been for the courage of Michael Hickey's mother, Ann Whelan, who campaigned on behalf the men. In the early years, she was Robinson's only visitor. She convinced the journalist Paul Foot (obituary, July 20 2004) to take up the case. He wrote many articles and a book, Murder at the Farm (1986), on what he called a "rotten verdict". Over the years, many others rallied to the campaign, among them George Irving, who played Robinson in a television dramatisation, Bad Company (1993), and Susan Wooldridge, who played Ann Whelan.

Eloquent, funny and charismatic, Robinson had a way with words and could hold a room spellbound. It was his humour which, his lawyer James Nichol says, contributed to his survival in prison. Yet the early years after his release years were rough. He had married in prison, but that marriage had foundered. When compensation was finally settled at a 1999 Home Office meeting, an official said he was sorry for what had happened to him. This was the first - and only - time the word was ever said to Robinson by any civil servant. He wept. It was a turning point, after which he felt able to rebuild his life.

Robinson grew up in Aston, Birmingham, was educated locally and left school at 15. He worked as an agricultural labourer and then in a metal plating factory. In 1950 he took the assisted passage scheme to Australia as a "ten-quid pom". He spent 10 years in the country, working on sheep and cattle stations. Jailed for breaking and entering, he returned to England in 1961. He then married, and he and his wife Doreen had five children.

He was in regular employment, but in 1967 he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for a burglary. He then worked in the car industry, as a van and taxi driver, a heavy plant operator, a miner and a scaffolder - but he also took part in two armed robberies, one with Michael Hickey. In 1978, his marriage broke down. He then had a daughter with Carole Bradbury. Then came the Bridgewater case.

When he finally regained his freedom, he found it difficult to settle. Robinson was angry. He told me: "I'm in a rut. I'm full of good intentions but there's no proper contentment in me. I want somewhere I can go and dig a garden, enough money to buy a few acres in the country."

Fortunately, in 1998, he met Christine Marotti, with whom he was to spend the last nine years of his life. He had found proper contentment. They lived in a small village in Norfolk, where nobody knew his past. He had a garden and fruit trees, a dog, five cats - and a number of feral ones that lived in his garage.

George Irving had visited Robinson in prison and they had become close friends. Irving saw a man who, having taken a "long close look at himself", had emerged from prison with dignity, integrity and honesty. But the bullying and harassment meted out to his children as the offspring of a supposed child killer left Robinson with a lifelong sense of guilt. Yet the actor, who spent a lot of time with Robinson over the years and particularly in the last six months of his life, said that, in Norfolk with Christine, he had found peace at last.

He is survived by Christine, four sons, two daughters and 12 grandchildren.

· James Robinson, prisoner and campaigner, born January 15 1934; died August 30 2007

Source

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Bridget
Posted: Oct 7 2007, 12:37 AM





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QUOTE
Prosecutors 'blocking' appeal in murder case

Lawyer says Crown Office has withheld evidence that could clear his client after 30 years in jail

Robin McKie
Sunday October 7, 2007
The Observer

The lawyer representing Glasgow lorry driver Thomas Ross Young - who has served 30 years in Peterhead jail for killing bakery worker Frances Barker - says his bid to overturn his client's sentence is being obstructed by the Crown Office.

Despite claims last month by Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, in the Scottish Parliament, that the Crown Office had supplied information to aid the case against Young's 1977 conviction, his solicitor says he has received no material and no information of any kind that could help his client. Requests for access to any evidence that could help his client have also been rejected.

'I know there is material which undermines my client's conviction and I am being denied access to that,' solicitor John McLeod told The Observer. 'This a very worrying affair with serious implications for justice in Scotland. It was quite misleading to suggest in the Scottish Parliament that information had been given to me to help our case.'

A violent sexual inadequate who admitted using prostitutes, Young was accused of killing Barker in June 1977 after she had been abducted by a kerb crawler near her home in Maryhill Road, Glasgow. Her battered, strangled corpse was eventually discovered in a wood in Glenboig, Lanarkshire.

Although Young protested his innocence throughout his trial, it took the jury at the High Court in Glasgow only an hour to return a guilty verdict on 26 October, 1977. He was jailed for a minimum of at least 30 years, the longest sentence ever imposed by a Scottish judge.

However, in 2005 an FBI profiler - asked by Strathclyde police to look at a series of murders of young women, including Barker, in the Seventies - concluded that one man was responsible for all of them. Crucially several of the women had been killed after Young had been jailed.

This evidence had been gathered as part of last month's failed prosecution of Angus Sinclair for the World's End murders of Christine Eadie and Helen Scott but was never presented in court. It clearly implicated Sinclair in all the murders, including that of Barker - who lived only 40 yards from Sinclair's house - and suggested Young was innocent.

'I first learned there were doubts about Young's involvement in Barker's murder in 2005 when police asked if they could re-interview my client,' added McLeod. 'They asked him if he had really killed her. Yet that was supposed to have been established in the High Court in 1977. So why ask now? As for my client, he vehemently denied killing Barker.'

Later two officers involved in the World's End murder investigation told McLeod of the existence of evidence that linked Sinclair to Barker's murder and which suggested Young had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice. 'I then approached the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission and the Crown Office and asked to see this evidence. In both cases I was refused access to it, despite its immense importance to my client,' added McLeod.

When asked by The Observer why Angiolini had claimed that help had been provided to Young's solicitors, a Crown Office spokesperson said that it had indeed been given. 'We told Strathclyde police to tell Young's solicitors of the existence of new evidence that was important to Young's conviction for Barker's murder.'

This statement did not impress McLeod, however. 'Basically they are telling me evidence exists that can help my client, but that I cannot find out what it is. To say this is assisting my client's appeal is extremely misleading. It is no use whatsoever, in fact.'

Young's case was further confused by a decision to charge him, on 23 September this year, with the murder of 17-year-old Patricia McAdam near Annan, Dumfries, in 1967. 'They have no body, no new evidence and no DNA to link Young with this case,' added McLeod. 'Yet they have decided to charge him. It is an utterly cynical move.'

A major problem affecting the Young case is that the authorities do not know what to do with him, said one senior legal source. Young is now 72 years old and suffers from a series of debilitating heart and blood illnesses. Caring for him in the community will be very difficult.

In addition, if he is released, and if his appeal against his conviction for the Barker murder is upheld, Young would be due to receive a massive sum in compensation for his wrongful conviction. 'It would be so much simpler if Young was to die in jail,' said the source. 'That would make things so much easier for the authorities.
'
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Kier
Posted: Nov 14 2007, 12:28 AM





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QUOTE
Miscarriage of justice corrected as jury finds man guilty of murder
By Andy McSmith
Published: 13 November 2007

Stefan Kiszko, who spent 16 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, received his final vindication yesterday when the real killer was jailed for life. Ronald Castree, 54, a dealer in comics, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was told he must serve a minimum of 30 years for the paedophile murder of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed in 1975.

Castree was not on the list of suspects drawn up by the police during their original inquiry, although he lived close to the scene of the attack. In 2005 he was arrested, but not charged, after another sexual attack. It was found that his DNA was a direct match for traces found on the dead girl's clothing.

His conviction will strengthen the hand of those who want the police to be allowed to build up a national DNA database. Critics who fear that the UK is becoming a "surveillance society" say that the DNA records of suspects who are questioned but not charged should be destroyed.

Castree claimed that he had no idea how his DNA was found at the crime scene. In court, his defence team said it was "overwhelmingly probable" that the killer was a convicted paedophile named Raymond Hewlett.

But Castree was found guilty after the jury had spent nearly 12 hours deliberating. Passing sentence at Bradford Crown Court, Mr Justice Openshaw told him: "You carried on with the rest of your life as if nothing had happened. It was a pretence you kept up for 32 years. Your past has now caught up with you." Lesley Molseed vanished from her home in Rochdale after she went out to buy a loaf of bread for her mother, on Sunday, 5 October 1975. Her body was found three days later on the moors near the border of Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire. She had been stabbed 12 times.

In 1976, a 23-year-old loner, Stefan Kiszko, was jailed for life for the murder. A giant of a man, who suffered from immaturity because his testicles had not developed, Mr Kiszko had confessed to the crime after two days' questioning with no solicitor present.

He later withdraw his confession, but his barrister, David Waddington, now a Conservative peer, ran a defence of manslaughter through diminished responsibility. Coincidentally, it was Mr Waddington who, as Home Secretary in 1990, ordered the case to be reopened, after a long campaign by Mr Kiszko's mother. Having heard scientific evidence that Mr Kiszko was physically incapable of leaving his sperm at the murder scene, three Appeal Court judges quashed his conviction in 1992.
He died from a heart condition in December 1993. His mother, who had fought for so long to get her son home, died just five months later.

After his release, Daniel Molseed, Lesley's stepfather, was forced to declare his innocence, after he was arrested and questioned about her death. Then public suspicion turned on Hewlett, who had two convictions for violent attacks on children in the 1970s.

Ann Kiszko, Stefan's aunt, said that she felt sorry for Castree's family, who had not known that they were living with a "monster".

A 30-year-old travesty

* 5 October 1975

Lesley Molseed, 11, is reported missing after being sent to buy bread.

* 8 October 1975

Body found by motorist, on moorland, with 12 stab wounds.

* December 1975

Stefan Kiszko, 23, held. Confession to murder after two days, but withdraws it.

* 12 July 1976

Ronald Castree guilty of sex assault on 9-year-old.

* 21 July 1976

Kiszko jailed for life.

* 18 February 1992

Kiszko released after scientific evidence proves he could not be killer.

* 23 December 1993

Kiszko dies of heart failure.

* 17 October 1997

Lesley's mother, April Garrett, demands new inquiry after a book, serialised in Daily Mail, named paedophile Raymond Hewlett as killer.

* 1 October 2005

Castree arrested in Oldham after assault not related to Molseed case. Released without charge.

* 5 November 2006

Castree rearrested after his DNA was found to match traces found on Lesley's body.

* 23 October 2007

Trial of Castree opens at Bradford Crown Court.

Source: The Independent


It's dismaying that this case will "strengthen the hand of those who want the police to be allowed to build up a national DNA database". Other reports I've seen of this story are also making sure this angle is covered:

QUOTE
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.
Source


It doesn't change the fact that it should have been obvious in 1976 that Kiszko could not have been the killer.......

QUOTE
Lord Lane, the Lord Chief Justice, finally declared the conviction unsafe after hearing that Mr Kiszko could not have been the source of semen on Lesley’s underwear, and thus the murderer, because his condition made him incapable of producing sperm.

An investigation was launched into why this information was not disclosed to the defence in the 1976 trial.
Source


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Kier
Posted: Nov 14 2007, 11:49 AM





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QUOTE
Net finally falls on right man

For almost 30 years Ronald Castree walked free, as another man was jailed for his crime. But advances in forensic science meant justice was finally served

Martin Wainwright
Monday November 12, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

When Ronald Castree stabbed schoolgirl Lesley Molseed to death on a lonely stretch of Yorkshire moorland 27 years ago, he began a course of events which were to destroy a second innocent life.

As well as murdering the child, he stayed silent as a blameless man was convicted of the killing and sent for 16 years to prison where he was attacked by fellow-inmates and routinely bullied and humiliated.

Awkward, vulnerable and a loner, this second victim, tax clerk Stefan Kiszko, was eventually cleared, but developed schizophrenia in jail.

He died a recluse at 44, less than two years after being released.

His mother Charlotte, exhausted by leading a tireless campaign for justice, followed him four months later to a grave in Rochdale cemetery, which is still marked by a vase of plastic roses.

Because Kiszko had no other relatives, the Government never had to pay out agreed compensation of over £500,000.

Kiszko's acquittal was based on scientific evidence about semen in the case, which showed that he could never have been the man who killed Lesley - evidence never shown to the defence or court at his original trial.

Fittingly, it was the revolutionary discovery of DNA-tracing which made it just as certain that Castree was convicted today, in spite of attempts in the witness box to pin the crime on a third man, convicted violent paedophile Raymond Hewlett, who has always denied it.


The story revealed at Bradford crown court showed that the real murderer - an office worker at the time but more recently a dealer in second-hand comics - should have been a prime suspect in Lesley's death in 1975.

Castree lived on the same Turf Hill estate in Rochdale, had no safe alibi and, most tellingly, was convicted within a year of the Molseed murder of abducting another young local girl and trying to assault her in an empty house.

Unlike frail Lesley, who had survived open-heart surgery and weighed less than four stone, this child punched and kicked her way to freedom and identified Castree to police.

His seediness was more widely known at the time. His then wife told his murder trial that he had been serially unfaithful and taunted her about getting a divorce.

Lesley was abducted when she went on a Sunday errand to the local shops to buy bread and an air freshener, skipping off in her older sister's floppy Bay City Rollers socks.

"A dainty little imp," her mother April Garrett told the Bradford jury. "I wish you could have seen her."

No one did for four days, until a van driver who had kipped overnight in a layby above Halifax got up to relieve himself and to his horror found the girl's body, bloodied by 11 stab wounds.

Within days, West Yorkshire police were on to Kiszko, who lived in Rochdale with his mother, and excitedly detailed his 'odd' behaviour, including noting down the numbers of cars whose drivers had annoyed him. One of them had been seen near by the layby at the estimated time of the murder.

The treatment of Kiszko by a team including Supt Dick Holland, who was later involved in the bungled hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, was a disgrace. Kiszko was not told that he was entitled to a solicitor, was denied the company of his mother and a confession was obtained as he sat alone and dazed with detectives.

Three teenage girls, who were praised by the trial judge in 1976 for their "bravery and honesty", gave evidence that the baffled, hounded clerk had stalked them and exposed himself. Only in 1991, when the scale of the miscarriage of justice was exposed, did they admit that they had made up the claims for a laugh. (Unlike the original trial judge, they did not apologise to the Kiszkos).

Worst of all, the forensic evidence which eventually cleared Kiszko - the fact that he was impotent but the Molseed semen traces contained sperm - never reached court. After the acquittal, Holland and a Home Office scientist Ronald Outteridge were served with summonses for suppressing evidence, but the case was stayed by a magistrate on the grounds that the head of the inquiry, Chief Supt Jack Dibb, might have been responsible, and too much time had passed for a fair trial.

Holland died earlier this year but Outteridge gave evidence at Castree's trial and maintained that the man who left the semen might not have been the girl's killer.

The decision not to prosecute the pair, initially private but revealed after pressure from MPs, has left the wrongdoing unresolved, even though the scale of the miscarriage has been detailed in several books.

It damaged the reputation of those involved but did not prevent their promotion; the prosecutor Peter Taylor QC was made Lord Chief Justice the day after Kiszko's acquittal and the defence counsel, David Waddington, who made a series of tactical errors, became home secretary and continued to hold pro-capital punishment views.


Nonetheless, the cruelty of what was done to Kiszko has helped raise awareness of the danger of manhunts in the frightened and vengeful mood which follow terrible crimes such as Lesley's murder.

The jury trying Castree was repeatedly warned to treat all the evidence including the DNA matches with great care.

The relentless work to unpick Kiszko's conviction, led by his mother, lawyer Campbell Malone and the international group Justice, also inspired many similar campaigns, a lot of them successful.

Finally and crucially, it led to a re-examination of Lesley's underwear in the late 1990s which produced DNA samples.

When Castree was arrested and swabbed in 2006 after an entirely unrelated incident in Oldham, the net which had been so terribly miscast fell at last on the right man.

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