Leeds & West Yorkshire

Elsie Frost murder: Family can apply for fresh inquest

Elsie Frost Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Elsie Frost was stabbed several times in Wakefield in the 1960s

The family of a 14-year-old girl who was murdered in 1965 has been given the right to apply for a fresh inquest after her suspected killer died.

Elsie Frost was killed as she walked home in West Yorkshire, and there were no successful prosecutions over her murder.

Convicted child murderer Peter Pickering was expected to be charged, but died in March.

The Attorney General said there is "new evidence" a 1966 inquest did not hear.

Elsie's body was found near a railway tunnel in Wakefield on 9 October 1965. She had been stabbed several times.

Image caption Peter Pickering (pictured in 1972) admitted killing schoolgirl Shirley Boldy and was suspected of murdering Elsie Frost

The inquest implicated local man Ian Bernard Spencer but his criminal trial was thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.

New evidence uncovered after Elsie's brother Colin Frost and sister Anne Cleave persuaded West Yorkshire Police to reopen the files pointed to Pickering, nicknamed the "Beast of Wombwell".

Police passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and had been expecting a decision on whether or not to charge Pickering when he died.

The 80-year-old was locked up for more than 45 years after killing 14-year-old Shirley Boldy in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, in 1972.

At the time of his death, the sex attacker was also awaiting sentence for raping an 18-year-old woman - who is now in her 60s - weeks before Shirley's abduction.

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

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC said: "Having considered the application, I have given consent to the family of Elsie Frost to apply to the High Court for a new inquest into her death.

"I am satisfied that there is new evidence available that was not put before the previous inquest, and I believe that it is in the interests of justice for the application for a new inquest to be heard by the High Court."

Colin Frost, who was six years old when his sister died, previously said: "There's a huge amount of emotion for us a family, but the overriding one is frustration because we were so close to getting a result and that's been taken from us.

"An inquest would allow the police to declare all the evidence they have against Pickering and also set the record straight for Ian Spencer's family."

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