A report from the Rochdale Observer of 5/2/03 provides an interesting insight into the forthcoming case against Ronald Castree for the murder of Lesley Molseed.
Detective Chief Superintendent Max Mclean, was appointed to head the investigation after Stefan Kisko had been acquitted.(He led the enquiry on the 2001 race Riots in Bradford and appeared on Crimewatch in a fruitless appeal in the still unsolved case of the 19-year-old Bradford prostitute Becky Hall in 2001, he said "he was dismayed by public indifference.")
He said: "I asked the forensic team if they had any material left from the original murder investigation. We uncovered a semen sample and from this we managed to acquire a DNA profile." (Presumably this was due to the introduction in the late 90's of the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) based profiling to replace the less sensitive and slower RFLP (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) analysis) . Apparently the sample was recovered from a criminal evidence laboratory in Wetherby, Yorkshire.
"...pioneering new techniques to test semen recovered at the scene" had provided a DNA profile and had proved to be effective in dismissing convicted paedophile Raymond Hewlett - the man named in a 1997 book as the murderer.
The Rochdale Observer went on to explain that the West Yorkshire Police are launching a major appeal in a bid to finally trap her killer and bring him to justice after 27 years and that this appeal featured on the BBC Crimewatch programme on the day of the report ... and solicited people to convey any suspicions they may have to the Police .....
Mr Mclean urged Rochdale's townsfolk to come forward with names of people they suspect murdered Lesley.
"It may be that someone has harboured a suspicion for 27 years that a friend, relative, or acquaintance could have killed this little girl. We now have the ability, through the development of scientific methods to eliminate these people once and for all. It is an extremely simple procedure, which involves us taking a mouth swab. We have already eliminated 300 people and are continuing to work through our list of suspects."
Mr Mclean even wants the name of suspects who are now dead.
"It could be a husband, boyfriend, partner, or brother. There are simple scientific tests we can undertake to determine whether they are responsible for her death. I want to stress to people that it is impossible for Stefan Kiszko to have been involved in this crime. Get the image out of your mind. He was not the killer."
A contact telephone number was provided for the incident room at Halifax police station.
Which is all very curious, because we know that 3 West Yorkshire Police officers were charged with destroying evidence - amongst that evidence was semen - which would have eliminated Stefan Kisko because he had a medical condition that prevented him producing semen.
No doubt this sample the forensic team "uncovered" will be the subject of considerable interest when the trial of Ronald Castree starts in Bradford on October 22nd and which is expected to last 9 weeks. It is after all essential that a chain of custody documents must accompany all specimens at all times for legal cases. These documents should maintain the chronological history of the evidence and include all pertinent identity information.... it would be extremely unhelpful if this was not available and provable in court.
Castree is being defended by Jonathan Rose QC who co-wrote “Innocents” – The definitive account of the case of Stefan Kiszko, which was published in 1997 by Fourth Estate Ltd
(link)For more information about the case and how in 1994 DCI Richard (Dick) Holland, CS Dibb and forensic scientist Doctor Ronald Outteridge were formally charged with suppressing evidence in 1994. It was alleged they had destroyed the forensic evidenceand also withheld statements from the defence, which proved the whereabouts of Stefan on the day of the murder.
DNA and the UK Forensic Service
The latest available figures show that UK National DNA Database (NDNAD) contain 3.4 million people, over 585,000 of them taken from children aged under 16 and over 50,000 profiles from samples taken from the crime scene - it is the largest such database in the world.
Comparisons are not made of whole DNA profiles but most Forensic Laboratories, now use a standardised SGM Plus (Second Generation Multiplex) system. This system, comprising 11 loci (discrete areas of DNA - D3 (D3S1358), VWA (HUMVWF31/A), D16 (D16S539), D2 (D2S1338), D8 (D8S1179), D21 (D21S11), D18 (D18S51), D19 (D19S433), THO (HUMTHO1), FGA (HUMFIBRA), includes a gender marker (AMELX, - which is surprisingly a gene that controls the development of tooth enamel Amelogenin) and is said to have has a discrimination power of greater than 1 in 1,000 million. SGM Plus encompasses four Interpol loci. These core loci are used by most European countries to facilitate the possible exchange of information between jurisdictions. So far INTERPOL, the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI), GITAD (Grupo Iberoamericano de Trabajo en Análisis de DNA) and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) use this system although there is a move by the US manufacturers of the system Promega to move to 15 locii for improved sensitivity.
In England and Wales, the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 allowed DNA to be retained from people charged with an offence, even if they were subsequently acquitted. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 later allowed DNA to be taken on arrest, rather than on charge. Since April 2004, when this law came into force, anyone arrested in England and Wales on suspicion of involvement in any recordable offence (all except the most minor offences) has their DNA sample taken and permanently stored in the NDNAD; officially the UK National Criminal Intelligence DNA Database , whether or not they are subsequently charged or convicted. In practice both the collection and permanent retention of DNA is now routine for all people arrested and taken to a police station in England or Wales, from the age of ten, and removal is being restricted to ‘exceptional’ cases. Link to report about Europe wide standardisation and intelligence / information sharing.
If interested GeneWatch UK is a not-for-profit group that monitors developments in genetic technologies and has many concerns about the Police National DNA Database. This is another interesting site about the accuracy of DNA profiling in the UK by the Police / Forensic Service.