Man, 78, held over 1965 murder of schoolgirl Elsie Frost

Elsie Frost

A man in his 70s has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a schoolgirl more than 50 years ago.

The police investigation into the death of Elsie Frost, 14, in West Yorkshire in 1965 was re-opened last year after a series of reports on BBC Radio 4.

Police say a 78-year-old man was held in Berkshire. The BBC understands his name is Peter Pickering.

Elsie was stabbed to death in a tunnel beneath a railway line in Wakefield on 9 October 1965.

She had been on her way home from her school’s sailing club, close to the River Calder and the Calder and Hebble Canal.

A large police operation followed. The area was searched for the murder weapon, which was never found and hundreds of people were interviewed but no-one was ever convicted of her murder.

As the 50th anniversary of her death approached, her older sister, Anne Cleave, contacted BBC Radio 4’s iPM programme, which started to look at what had happened.

As a result, police launched a new investigation. It has involved a team of 14 and thousands of pages of written evidence have been examined.

‘New information’

In a statement, West Yorkshire Police said: “Officers from West Yorkshire Police`s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET) arrested a 78-year-old man in the Berkshire area on Tuesday 27 September on suspicion of the murder of 14-year-old Elsie Frost.

“The man is now in custody at a police station within the Thames Valley force area and will be questioned by West Yorkshire officers”.

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West Yorkshire Police

Image caption

Elsie’s body was found on 9 October 1965 beneath a railway line in Wakefield

It is only the second arrest since the killing. The first was in 1966 when a 33-year-old man was charged with her murder. The case was thrown out in court after a judge instructed the jury to find him not guilty.

Reacting to the arrest, Elsie Frost’s younger brother, Colin said: “As a family, we’re very pleased. All we wanted was to be taken seriously.

“We were aware that mistakes were made in 1965 but we’ve been impressed with the commitment of West Yorkshire Police in the reinvestigation – the number of officers involved, the number of agencies involved.

“We wanted the re-investigation to be re-opened and that’s what we’ve achieved.”

Det Supt Nick Wallen, who is leading the investigation, said: “We have received significant numbers of calls and emails from members of the public offering new information, and have generated new lines of inquiry which officers have been progressing ever since.”

He praised Elsie Frost’s family for their perseverance and said they are being kept fully informed.

Man, 78, held over 1965 murder of schoolgirl Elsie Frost

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