New fight for justice for family of murdered Wakefield schoolgirl Elsie Frost

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THE FAMILY of murdered schoolgirl Elsie Frost are to lobby the Attorney General for a fresh inquest, which would allow the police to put the evidence implicating ‘Beast of Wombwell’ Peter Pickering into the public domain.

They have launched a crowdfunding campaign to meet the legal costs of the move, which they say would bring them an element of justice after the opportunity to see Pickering prosecuted was robbed from them by his death earlier this year.

The Wakefield schoolgirl, 14, was murdered in 1965 and the crime remained unsolved for decades.

Detectives had been reinvestigating her murder since 2016 and were preparing to bring charges against Pickering, a convicted child killer and rapist, when he died in March.

Elsie’s brother, Colin, 59, said he had felt “cheated and robbed” by Pickering’s death.

He said: “It is still difficult to accept we are not going to get true justice because we can’t get the man in front of a jury, so we have to go for what is next best, and this is actually what is next best.”

Read more: Child killer dies and is linked to 1960s murder of Wakefield schoolgirl Elsie Frost
Mr Frost, a civil servant, said they knew there had been enough evidence implicating Pickering for the police to want to charge him with Elsie’s murder but for legal reasons the force could not share the details of this evidence outside of a courtroom or inquest.

Mr Frost said the family had only been given limited information about what this evidence was.

He said: “There are letters, there are paintings Pickering did, there are poems that he wrote, all kinds of bits and pieces of evidence that was building this very compelling case.”

One painting by Pickering, which he pinned to a cupboard door in a specialist hospital, shows a scene very similar to the location of Elsie’s murder, with red paint believed to represent blood.

Read more: Brother of murdered Wakefield schoolgirl Elsie Frost speaks after death of prime suspect Peter Pickering
Mr Frost and his sister, Anne Cleave, 72, are aiming to raise £8,000 to officially request Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC to issue a fiat, or order, to coroners for a new inquest to be held which could give this evidence a public airing.

Mr Frost said it was also important to “set the record straight” on behalf of the family of Ian Bernard Spencer, who in 1966 was charged with Elsie’s murder but cleared on the orders of the judge who heard the case at trial. Mr Spencer has since died.

Mr Frost said: “He was an innocent man and always was innocent and he had an awful legacy to life with through his life.

“We can’t do anything for Mr Spencer but we can do something for his remaining family.”

The family’s campaign is being supported by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh.

Read more: 'Beast of Wombwell' child killer Peter Pickering died after heart attack, inquest hears
She said: “There is no time limit on justice. Elsie’s family have been determined and resilient in their 53-year fight for the truth.

“I hope this is the start of a process which will, once and for all, reveal who was responsible for her death.”

The crowdfunding campaign is now underway. People can make donations by visiting www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-elsie-frost/.

Pickering, 80, had been locked up for more than 45 years after killing 14-year-old Shirley Boldy in Wombwell, Barnsley, in 1972.

When he died, the sex attacker dubbed the ‘Beast of Wombwell’ was also awaiting sentence for raping an 18-year-old woman, who is now in her 60s, a few weeks prior to Shirley’s abduction. The knifepoint attack only came to light because of the cold-case review of the Elsie Frost case.

As part of the inquiry, detectives had found a storage garage Pickering had been renting in the Owlerton area of Sheffield, containing possessions such as handcuffs and exercise books filled with his rantings.