Police end 28-year child murder mystery by identifying paedophile uncle as killer

DETECTIVES claim to have finally cracked one of Yorkshire most notorious child murders, 28 years after the battered and sexually assaulted body of a nine-year-old boy was found dumped in a beck.

Christopher Laverack went missing from his half-sister’s home in Harpham Grove, Hull on March 9, 1984.

His mutilated body was found in Beverley Beck two days later. The boy had been sexually assaulted and beaten to death by a blunt object.

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His uncle Melvyn Christopher Read, 64, was twice quizzed by detectives over the unsolved murder after he was convicted for sexually abusing four young boys in 2003 – one of which had disturbing hallmarks of a bite mark found on Christopher’s buttocks.

But Read was never charged with the murder and died in 2008 while still in jail.

Yesterday, Humberside Police identified Read as the killer after new forensic evidence led to an independent assessment of the case.

Paul Watson QC, who undertook the six-month review of the police case against Read, yesterday told the Yorkshire Post he felt the force should not be blamed for the length of the investigation as there was a high chance Read could have been acquitted without the new evidence linking pollen on Christopher’s body to Read’s garden.

“To my mind, the police could not have done more,” he said.

“There is a huge difference between there being a case to answer and sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

“My view is that they were right not to prosecute in 2003.”

Read’s victims were aged between eight and 16 and his assaults both pre-dated and post-dated the Laverack murder. Police believe Christopher was regularly abused before he was killed.

Read died aged 64 of cancer three weeks before he was due to be released.

Det Supt Ray Higgins, who led the case from 2007, said he believed “secretive, cunning and manipulative” Read acted alone.

“Read denied murder – but then he denied all the sexual offending he was found guilty of,” he added.

“It is frustrating and will always be, but you can only deal with the evidence you get at the time.”

Det Supt Higgins said Pamela Cawley, Christopher’s mother, had known for a long time that her brother was the likely perpetrator and is relieved some unanswered questions have been resolved.

Secret taken to grave: Page 3.