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Stefan Kiszko

Stefan Kiszko as a young man
Sixteen years

Consequences of convicting the wrong man

For 32 years two families, Stefan Kiszko's and murder victim Lesley Molseed suffered because of the incompetence of the criminal justice system, while the police and lawyers involved were promoted. David Waddington, who persuaded this totally innocent man to plead guilty to manslaughter, went on to become Home Secretary and now sits in the House of Lords. Prosecution brief Peter Taylor became Lord Chief Justice.

Net finally falls on right man

For almost 30 years Ronald Castree walked free, as another man was jailed for his crime...
By Martin Wainwright - read more in 12 November 2007

Miscarriage of justice corrected as jury finds man guilty of murder

By Andy McSmith 13 November 2007

Convicted of the (sexual) murder of a young girl in 1976, Stefan Kiszko spent 16 years in prison until he was released in 1992. He died of a heart attack the followng year at his mother's home aged 44; his mother, who had waged a long campaign to prove her son's innocence, died six months later.

Stefan Kiszko suffered from XYY syndrome, a condition in which the human male has an extra Y chromosome. Such males are normal except for - sometimes slight - growth abnormalities and minor behavioural abnormalities. (Another victim of a miscarriage of justice supported by Innocent also has this condition - Howard Hughes). One of Stefan Kiszko's "behavioural abnormalities" was jotting down the registration numbers of a car if he had been annoyed by the driver. This led, in part, to his wrongful conviction - he had at some point prior to the murder unwittingly jotted down the number of a car seen near the scene of the crime. It was argued that only someone at the scene could have known the number of this car... As part of his condition Stefan Kiszko would have been physically incapable of the sex crime of which he was convicted. Something which was never disclosed to his defence...
A book has been written about the case - see below for more details.

Guardian Unlimited
Man remanded over 1975 girl murder
Press Association Tuesday November 7, 2006
A 53-year-old man has been remanded in custody charged with the murder of a schoolgirl who disappeared more than 30 years ago. Ronald Castree, of Brandon Crescent, Shaw, Oldham, Greater Manchester, appeared at Calderdale Magistrates' Court in Halifax, West Yorkshire, charged with murdering Lesley Molseed between October 4 and October 9, 1975...

read more

4 May 2001
Police reopen 1975 child murder case

By David Ward
Police in Yorkshire are to reopen an inquiry into the murder of an 11-year-old girl whose death 26 years ago resulted in one of the worst miscarriages of justice in legal history.

Lesley Molseed, of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was stabbed 12 times and then sexually assaulted in 1975. Her body was dumped on the moors above Ripponden in West Yorkshire.
The brutal killing outraged local people.
In December 1975, detectives arrested and charged Stefan Kiszko, a tax clerk from Rochdale who had never been in trouble with the law. After two days of questioning he signed a confession. He later complained that the confession had been bullied out of him but was convicted of murder and jailed for life.
Fourteen years later his lawyer urged the Home Office to reopen the case, which was then referred back to West Yorkshire police.
New inquiries showed that semen found on Lesley's body contained heads of sperm. Mr Kiszko, however, was infertile.
He was freed in 1992 but died a year later. His mother Charlotte, who had campaigned tirelessly to prove his innocence, died six months after him.

A West Yorkshire police spokesman said yesterday: "The murder investigation is being relaunched on Tuesday May 8 when an increased number of officers will be working from an incident room at Halifax police station.
Detective Chief Superintendent Max McLean has asked officers to look at a number of new lines of inquiry.
"The case has never been closed. Thousands of documents from the original inquiry back in 1975 are being looked at by officers and transferred to the Holmes system." The Holmes system, which was not available at the time of Lesley's murder, allows comparisons and patterns to be drawn from information recorded on a database by police forces from across the country.
"We have a list of suspects that we intend to pursue and we continue to liaise closely with the Molseed family," added the police spokesman.
"Now is the time for people to come forward with information."

by Jonathan Rose - Innocents
(June 1998)

The shocking story of a catastrophic multiple failure of British justice.

Lesley Molseed was eleven when she was killed in 1975. For sixteen years Stefan Kiszko suffered unimaginable torment in prison, having been wrongly convicted of her murder. Throughout his prison term, Stefan, his family and a small band of supporters sought to overturn the court's ruling. Their eventual success was followed by tragedy as first Stefan and then his mother died premature deaths, exhausted by their fight to prove his innocence. Meanwhile the real killer remained free and continued to offend, bringing tragedy to the families of other children he abused. This is the story of that appalling miscarriage of justice; and of the quest to find the killer.

Jonathan Rose is a barrister in Leeds. Trevor Wilkinson is a former deputy chief constable who re-opened the Kiszko case, and Steve Panter is a journalist on the Manchester Evening News who knew the Kiszko family and covered the entire Kiszko story.

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