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Thursday, 16 August, 2001, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Child killer to appeal after 32 years
Cannock Chase
Christine Darby's body was found on Cannock Chase
A man jailed 32 years ago for the murder of a schoolgirl is to appeal against his conviction.

Raymond Morris was jailed for life in 1969 after being found guilty of killing seven-year-old Christine Darby.

Her body was found on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire near the bodies of two other young girls - Margaret Reynolds and Diane Tift.

All three had been abducted from the streets of the West Midlands and had been raped and murdered before being dumped at the beauty spot.

No doubt

The investigation that followed was one of the biggest in British criminal history.

But Morris, who was never charged with Diane or Margaret's murders, is now claiming he was convicted on dubious circumstantial and unreliable identification evidence.

I would describe him as cold, cruel, lustful and just plain wicked

Pat Molloy, former police officer

He plans to appeal against his conviction.

But former detective chief superintendent Pat Molloy, one of three leading officers on the case, said he had no doubt that Morris was guilty.

He told BBC Radio WM: "I am quite happy that he is a guilty man and that he is a killer.

"For one thing, the Cannock Chase murders and abductions of little girls was going on for four years and involved such a huge operation.

"It stopped dead after his (Morris) arrest. There was no more afterwards and there have been no more since."

'Identity parade'

Morris, who is being held at Wymott prison in Preston, reportedly told a newspaper that he was identified by a man who saw him handcuffed to a detective more than a year after the killing, and a woman who only saw him in court 15 months later.

But Mr Molloy said: "He refused twice himself during interviews to go into a proper identity parade and his lawyer refused a further three opportunities before the trial on his behalf.

"If he had not refused, there would have been an identity parade and I am pretty sure he would have been picked out anyway."

Christine was abducted as she played near her home in Walsall in August 1967.

Her body was discovered a few days later - a mile from the spot where Diane and Margaret had been buried a year earlier.

Morris was already being questioned for another attempted abduction when he was arrested for Christine's murder.

Mr Molloy said: "I would describe him as cold, cruel, lustful and just plain wicked."

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