Detectives investigating the murder 50 years ago of a Wakefield schoolgirl have uncovered new lines of enquiry as part of a major re-investigation of the case.
Officers investigating the 1965 murder of 14-year-old Elsie Frost are appealing for information to identify a previously unknown man in a white coat on a bicycle who was seen near the murder scene on the afternoon she died.
West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team are making the appeal as part of a first ever full re-investigation of the murder.
Elsie was attacked on a towpath near the Calder and Hebble Canal in Wakefield on the afternoon of October 9 1965 after watching friends sail on what is now Horbury Lagoon
While entering a railway tunnel just off the canal towpath, which now leads onto Monckton Road, Elsie was attacked from behind and stabbed in the back and twice in the head.
A knife blow also pierced a hand which officers believe she had put up behind her head to defend herself.
Officers now believe Elsie may also have been meeting someone in secret, possibly a boyfriend, in the weeks leading up to her death and are appealing for anyone who can identify that person to contact them.
The force has also issued new picture of the popular teenager and a map showing her final movements as part of new efforts to seek justice for her and her family.
Det Chf Insp Elizabeth Belton, who is leading the reinvestigation. said: “Elsie’s death may be many decades ago but the pain of her loss remains as fresh as ever for her brother Colin and sister Anne.
“Her brutal murder shattered their family and with such a significant anniversary near, I would ask anyone who may not have come forwards then, for whatever reason, to do so now and provide them with answers.”
Cold case detectives from West Yorkshire have reviewed the case in the past to see if there was any fresh evidence, but have never mounted a full scale re-investigation until now.
Det Chf Insp Belton said: “The re-investigation has been progressing well and we have uncovered new lines of enquiry.
“We now believe at least one person, who was never interviewed at the time, was seen near the location where Elsie was murdered on the canal towpath on that evening on October 9. He was described as white, 25 to 30-years-old riding a black bike with a basket on the front and wearing a white lab type coat possibly of the style then worn by someone who could have been a delivery boy, butcher or abattoir worker. Clearly we are keen to identify that individual.
“Enquiries also suggest that when staying at a friends a couple of weeks before the murder, Elsie got dressed up and went out, possibly to meet someone. Was that person you or does anyone who know it was? If you have any information please contact us.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.