Two accused over man's jail ordeal: Detective and scientist to face charges over wrongful conviction in 1975 murder case

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A FORMER policeman and a retired forensic scientist are to be charged with perverting the course of justice over their role in the conviction of a man who spent 16 years in jail for a murder he did not commit.

Stefan Kiszko, 41, was cleared in February 1992 of stabbing to death 14-year-old Lesley Molseed on a moor near Rochdale in 1975.

Mr Kiszko, who suffered severe beatings and a mental breakdown while in prison, died from natural causes at his home in December. His mother, Charlotte, who spent years campaigning for her son's release, died last week.

Richard Holland, a former detective superintendent with the West Yorkshire force, and Ronald Outteridge, a forensic scientist, were yesterday 'summoned with charges of doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice', by the Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Holland, who retired more than 10 years ago, yesterday denied the charge. The two men will appear before Rochdale magistrates on 5 July.

The CPS said there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone else. The decision follows an inquiry by West Yorkshire police, later taken on by a Lancashire chief superintendent, Kenneth Mackay, which was submitted to the CPS in June last year.

Three months earlier, police closed their re-investigation of Lesley's murder after the CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to convict a 48-year-old man questioned after Mr Kizsko was freed by the Court of Appeal.

Yesterday's announcement is the closing chapter in the latest miscarriage of justice to raise disturbing questions about scientific evidence, disclosure of evidence, and the reliability of confessions.

Lesley went missing while walking to a shop close to her home in Rochdale. She was found three days later with 12 stab wounds to her neck. Traces of semen were found on the girl's clothing.

Mr Kiszko, then a 23-year-old Inland Revenue clerk, was arrested two months later and made a signed confession which he later retracted.

At his trial in 1976, he was described as having a mental age of 12.

He spent many of his years in jail segregated from other inmates for his own safety. He was set upon by six prisoners soon after his arrival at Wakefield Prison. In 1977, he was again attacked and needed 17 stitches to a head wound.

A police inquiry in 1990 found that the defence had never been shown scientific evidence that semen found on Lesley's body could not have been from Mr Kiszko who was sterile. This vital evidence lay buried for 16 years.

Mr Kiszko was in a mental hospital suffering from schizophrenia when the Court of Appeal ruled his conviction unsafe.

Mrs Kiszko died before receiving a compensation payment, estimated at up to pounds 500,000 for her son's ordeal.

Campbell Malone, Mr Kisko's solicitor, said: 'It is sadly ironic that Charlotte Kiszko and her son should have both died without knowing the results of the inquiry.'