Man who wrongly served 16 years in jail dies

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The Independent Online
A MAN who spent 16 years in jail for a killing he did not commit has died. Stefan Kiszko, who was wrongly convicted of murdering an 11-year-old girl, was released from prison by the Court of Appeal in February 1992.

He was found dead at his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, by his mother Charlotte, 69, a widow who had campaigned tirelessly for his release. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Charles Turner, a close family friend, said Mr Kiszko, 41, had never fully recovered from his ordeal. 'He would just sit around the house for most of the time. He had no interests. It was as simple as that,' he said, adding that the timing of Mr Kiszko's death was especially poignant because he had been arrested just before Christmas in 1975.

Mr Kiszko, the only son of east European immigrant parents, was jailed for the murder of Lesley Molseed, whose body was found on moorland near Rochdale. She had gone missing while walking to a corner shop and was found three days with 12 stab wounds to the neck. There were traces of semen on her clothing.

Mr Kiszko, described at his trial as having the mental age of 12, was said to have confessed to the crime. In jail he was an obvious target for other prisoners and spent much of his time in solitary confinement. Following an unsuccessful appeal in 1978, his mother used money she was awarded after being disabled at work to hire a lawyer and private detective to prove his innocence.

When Mr Kiszko was released because it was shown that a rare illness meant he could not have produced the sperm found at the scene of the crime, his mother said: 'I could die now, a happy woman.' He then underwent treatment for schizophrenia.

Mrs Kiszko, who found him collapsed on his bedroom floor on Wednesday night, was said to be 'devastated' by his death.

Nine months after Mr Kiszko's release, a 48-year-old man was arrested for the crime. A file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service but last March police said there was insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution.

(Photograph omitted)