Leeds & West Yorkshire

Elsie Frost murder: New inquest into Wakefield girl's 1965 murder

Elsie Frost Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Elsie Frost's body was found near a railway tunnel

A new inquest has opened into the death of a 14-year-old girl who was murdered in 1965 in West Yorkshire.

Elsie Frost was killed in Wakefield as she walked home. No-one has been convicted in the case.

Police believe convicted child murderer Peter Pickering was responsible, but he died aged 80 in March 2018 before any charges could be brought.

An inquest was first held into Elsie's death in 1966, but a new one was ordered by the High Court in April.

It followed an application from her family, including her brother Colin Frost and sister Anne Cleave, after fresh evidence was uncovered.

Senior coroner Kevin McLoughlin told Wakefield Coroner's Court Elsie was killed as she walked home after an event at the Snapethorpe School's sailing club on Horbury Lagoon.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Elsie's body was found on 9 October 1965 beneath a railway line in Wakefield

Mr Frost, who was aged six when Elsie died, was praised by the coroner for his efforts in applying for a fresh inquest.

Speaking outside the court after the hearing had been formally opened and adjourned, Mr Frost, 60, said: "We're a step closer to knowing what happened to Elsie.

"We've got wrongs to be put right," he said. "We just want to get all the information out, so that everyone knows what happened to Elsie."

During the first inquest Ian Bernard Spencer, who lived locally, was implicated but he was cleared after a criminal trial against him was thrown out through lack of evidence.

Beast of Wombwell

Mr Spencer's son, Ian Lee, was in court and is to give evidence during the full inquest, which is scheduled for two days from 18 November.

Mr Frost said he hoped the fresh inquest would help to again exonerate Mr Spencer.

Shortly after the death of Pickering - known as the Beast of Wombwell - West Yorkshire Police revealed he was close to being charged with Elsie's murder and that a file of evidence had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr McLoughlin said efforts had been made to find someone to represent Pickering at the full inquest, but he had no close family to act on his behalf.

He had been held under a hospital order for more than 45 years after admitting killing 14-year-old Shirley Boldy in Barnsley in 1972.

Pickering died days after he was convicted of abducting and violently raping an 18-year-old woman, also in Barnsley, in the same year.

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