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16,891. The identity of 11 year old Lesley Molseed’s murderer was not ascertained until 22 years after her body was found near Rishworth Moor. But for 16 of those 22 years, an innocent man slept behind bars for the crime. The victim of what is often described as Britain’s worst miscarriage of justice, Stefan Kiszko, lived for barely a year following the overturning of his conviction and never got to see the conviction of the real killer in 2007.
Shockingly, the evidence that proved his innocence was known to the police at the time of his conviction. As a sufferer of hypogonadism, Kiszko could never produce the sperm heads that were found in the ejaculate on Lesley’s clothing. Nonetheless, Kiszko was found guilty on the strength of a confession made after hours of questioning and without a solictor being present. Other alleged pieces of ‘evidence’ brought against Kiszko included his idiosyncratic hobby of writing down the registration numbers of cars he saw and allegations made by four local girls that he had exposed himself to them. Only after his conviction was quashed would the girls admit to having falsely concocted the claims – but even though would not apologise to him. (Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko & Police & Murder Cases: Castree) Weird Island online article
16,889. It is one of Britain’s most notorious miscarriages of justice.
Stefan Kiszko served 16 years in prison for the murder and sexual assault of schoolgirl Lesley Molseed – a crime he did not commit.
He was freed on appeal in 1992, when new evidence proved he could not have killed her. He died the following year from a heart attack, aged 41.
His mother Charlotte, who campaigned relentlessly to prove his innocence, died just months after him. (Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko & Police & Murder Cases: Castree) BBC online article 12th November 2007
16,890. There is an understatement on the gravestone that marks the burial place in Rochdale cemetery of Charlotte Kiszko and her son, Stefan. ‘A loving wife and a very devoted mother’, reads the inscription commemorating Mrs Kiszko.
No one could possibly have been more devoted than Charlotte Kiszko, who campaigned tirelessly for 16 years to prove the innocence of her son, Stefan, convicted, after a bungled police investigation, of the murder of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed in 1975. This week, many years after both she and her son were buried in the vast old cemetery, a man has been charged with the murder.
It is 30 years since Stefan Kiszko, an Inland Revenue clerk with the mental and emotional age of a 12-year-old, was found guilty, and 13 since he died after a brief taste of freedom. His mother died a few months later. Could a case as shocking happen today?
The man who helped to prove Kiszko’s innocence, and who acted as his mother’s ally, believes we are now just as much in danger of ignoring equally egregious miscarriages of justice.
‘In the current climate more miscarriages will take place,’ said Campbell Malone, the solicitor who took over the case and saw it through its successful appeal. ‘It is nonsense to suggest miscarriages of justice are less likely to happen now. We are more at risk – the climate is just as bad as it was in the 1970s when you had all the Irish cases. I am profoundly gloomy about the situation.’ (Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko & Murder Cases: Castree) Guardian online article Duncan Campbell 11th November 2006
106,282. The murder of eleven year old Lesley Molseed casts a long shadow. It was an horrific crime that destroyed three families. And it played on the mind of one man for more than thirty years. (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) Real Crime with Mark Austin s7e4: The Thirty Year Secret, ITV 2006
106,283. A flawed police investigation that led to one of Britain’s most infamous miscarriages of justice. (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) ibid.
106,284. ‘She’d been stabbed twelve time.’ (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) ibid. rozzer
106,285. As a social misfit Kiszko was an easy target for local suspicions. (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) ibid.
106,287. Kiszko vehemently denied any involvement in the murder. (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriage of Justice: Kiszko) ibid.
106,288. His mother Charlotte refused to give up hope and waged a one-woman campaign. (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) ibid.
106,289. Castree: A catalogue of abuse … ‘he was totally weird in the bedroom department.’ (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) ibid.
106,290. Stefan Kiszko had been cheated out of sixteen years of his life. This vital piece of evidence [lack of sperm-heads] would have proved his innocence beyond doubt but was never disclosed by police. (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) ibid.
106,291. 17th February 1992: The Court of Appeal finally quashed his conviction. (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) ibid.
106,292. 1993: Stefan Kiszko suffered a heart attack and died. (Murder Cases: Castree & Miscarriages of Justice: Kiszko) ibid.