Leeds & West Yorkshire

Elsie Frost murder: High Court approves new 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 murdered more than 50 years ago has won a High Court bid for a fresh inquest into her death.

Elsie Frost was killed as she walked back to her Wakefield home on 9 October 1965. She had been repeatedly stabbed.

Convicted child murderer Peter Pickering was expected to be charged, but died last year.

Senior judge Lord Justice Irwin, sitting with Mr Justice Jay, ruled "there will be a new inquest".

The judge said the court's reasons for its judgment would be given at a later date.

Elsie's body was found by a railway tunnel in the West Yorkshire town and an inquest was held the following year.

There have never been any successful prosecutions over her murder.

Last year the Attorney General said there was "new evidence" that had not been heard at the 1966 inquest.

Image caption The Frost family has started a crowdfunding campaign to meet the legal costs

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London after the ruling, Elsie's brother Colin Frost said: "It's a massive step in the right direction, to say the very least.

"I don't think we really understand the enormity of it yet."

Mr Frost, who was six years old when his sister was killed, said: "We've come a long way for this. We've fought and fought and fought.

"We have had lots and lots of support from different people. It just feels as if we've vindicated everything."

Mr Frost and his sister Anne Cleave persuaded West Yorkshire Police to reopen the files in 2015 and new evidence was uncovered, which pointed to Pickering, nicknamed the "Beast of Wombwell".

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

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

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.

Mr Frost's barrister, Anna Morris, said the new evidence would be kept hidden from Elsie's family and the public unless a new inquest was ordered.

She said it was also needed to "correct the record "about Ian Bernard Spencer, who was charged over Elsie's death but whose criminal trial was thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.

Mr Spencer always maintained he was innocent, something which the Frost family accepted.

Mr Frost said he thought Pickering had "got away with the perfect murder back in 1965", which was "very, very frustrating and very upsetting".

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