Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Tuesday, 23 October 2007 15:07 UK

DNA 'match' in 1975 murder case

Ronald Castree
Ronald Castree denies murdering Lesley Molseed

A man accused of murdering an 11-year-old girl more than 30 years ago had an "exact match" with DNA recovered from the dead child, a court has heard.

Ronald Castree of Brandon Crescent, Oldham, Greater Manchester, is charged with killing Lesley Molseed in 1975.

The girl's body was found on moors in West Yorkshire after a "frenzied" attack, a jury at Bradford Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

The 53-year-old denies murdering the girl, of Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

'Lonely scene'

Julian Goose QC, opening the case for the prosecution, said Mr Castree abducted Lesley from near her home as she went to run an errand for her mother.

He drove her to a "lonely scene" on moorland between Oldham and Ripponden, stabbed her repeatedly and left her for dead, he told the court.

Lesley Molseed
This was a frenzied attack upon a small, weak, 11-year-old child
Julian Goose QC, prosecuting

He said: "The identity of the murderer was contained within the sperm from the semen within Lesley's knickers."

Mr Goose told the court when the child's body was found in October 1975, it was not then scientifically possible to extract and compare a DNA profile.

He said: "The prosecution's case is that the semen was the defendant's and that his motive for murdering Lesley Molseed was sexual."

The jury heard how Lesley was enjoying a "typical family Sunday" on 5 October when she went on an errand for her mother and was never seen again.

Though she was small for her age, suffered heart problems and had some learning difficulties, she was a "cheerful, ordinary and happy child", Mr Goose said.

Her body was found three days after she was abducted, lying face down on moorland.

'Left to die'

A pathologist found Lesley had been stabbed 12 times, some of which pierced her heart and left lung.

Mr Goose said: "This was a frenzied attack upon a small, weak, 11-year-old child."

The prosecutor said there was evidence the youngster had held on to her purse until "the last moments when she was stabbed and left to die".

Evidence gathered from her body was examined and placed in storage, the court was told.

Mr Castree told detectives his DNA was on Lesley's clothing either because it had been deliberately put there to "set him up" or as a result of cross-contamination.

He said in 1979 he had "crossed swords" with two police officers who threatened to set him up for the murder.

But Mr Goose said: "How could the defendant's semen have been taken from him without his knowledge and how could it have been placed into adhesive tapes retained by the forensic science service, without anyone else finding out?"

The jury heard how Stefan Kiszko, who was wrongly convicted of the murder and spent 16 years in prison, was infertile and could not produce sperm.

The trial continues.

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