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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Killer jailed after 20 years
Marion Crofts
Marion Crofts was 14 when she was killed in 1981
A former Army chef has been jailed for life for the murder and rape of schoolgirl Marion Crofts 20 years ago.

Tony Jasinskyj, 45, was caught after traces of his DNA were found on clothing and the body of the teenager.

The advances in science made since the crime was committed enabled detectives to solve the murder riddle which dated back to 1981.

Marion, 14, was dragged from her bicycle as she rode to band practice in Aldershot, Hampshire, and beaten to death.

Tony Jasinskyj
Jasinskyj worked close to the murder scene

Jasinskyj, from Kegworth Avenue, Leicester, was jailed for life on Friday for murder and 10 years for the rape charge, to run concurrently.

He had denied the charges at Winchester Crown Court but the prosecution claimed that DNA obtained from semen found at the scene was a match to that taken from him.

The jury of seven men and five women heard 21 days of evidence and reached its verdicts on the second day of deliberations.

Sentencing Jasinskyj, Judge Michael Brodrick said: "The anguish that your action must have caused her parents, her family and friends, probably cannot be imagined."

Marion was brutally raped and killed as she was cycling from her home in Basingbourne Close, Fleet, Hampshire, to Wavell School, North Camp, Farnborough, on 6 June, 1981.

Trevor and Anne Crofts
The pain of Marion's death remains says her family

Jasinskyj worked in barracks less than a mile and a half from the murder scene.

The DNA match was made after a sample was taken from Jasinskyj last year when he was arrested for an unconnected minor matter.

This was checked against the national DNA database, and a match was found against the samples from the Marion Crofts murder.

The court heard that the probability of somebody unrelated to Jasinskyj also having a DNA match was one in a billion.

Family's relief

A statement released on behalf of Marion's family said: "Today marks the end of 21 years of agony for our family, the agony of wondering who killed Marion and wondering if he is still out there.

"The pain of her death remains - no verdict will bring Marion back to us.

"Nevertheless, we're grateful that Marion's killer has been brought to justice.

"We hope that our family can now get on with their lives without the worry that Marion's killer is still at large.

"At times, it was hard for us to see what good the investigation was so many years after Marion's death.

"But having heard the evidence against her killer, we're relieved that he is no longer a free man."

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See also:

10 May 02 | England
DNA tests crack case...20 years on
10 May 02 | England
The clothes that captured a killer
09 Nov 01 | England
Man in court over schoolgirl death
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