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Pensioner arrested over 1965 murder

Elsie Frost
Elsie Frost

A 78-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a schoolgirl who was killed more than 50 years ago.

Elsie Frost, 14, was attacked from behind and stabbed in the back and head as she walked through a railway tunnel just off a canal towpath in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in October 1965.

Police renewed efforts to find her killer last year with refreshed publicity five decades on from her death, and received new information.

The suspect was arrested in Berkshire and is being held at a police station in the Thames Valley where he will be questioned by officers from West Yorkshire.

Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen said: "A reinvestigation into Elsie's murder was launched in 2015 by West Yorkshire Police, backed by a publicity campaign on the 50th anniversary of her death.

"Since then 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.

"Following those inquiries we have now arrested a 78-year-old man in the Berkshire area and will be interviewing him under caution to progress our investigation."

A major inquiry was launched after Elsie's body was found at the bottom of a flight of steps by a dog walker, and hundreds of people were interviewed but her killer has evaded justice ever since.

Mr Wallen added: "Elsie's brother and sister have been kept fully apprised of the progress of the inquiry and I wish to commend them for their perseverance and that of members of the media in continuing to campaign for her and to put this case back in the public domain.

"The response we have received from the public since launching the reinvestigation is a testament to their dedication and to the strength of feeling Elsie's murder continues to generate in the local community in Wakefield."

The renewed police inquiry was triggered by a BBC Radio 4 investigation into the case.

In the wake of the fresh police appeal, Elsie's brother, Colin Frost, spoke out about her family's pain, saying that their parents Edith and Arthur had died "with a huge amount of guilt".

Mr Frost said Elsie had been like a mother to him, adding: "She was just a sweet, sweet person. She was lovely."

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme in October that he and his sister Anne had pushed for justice for Elsie because they "didn't want to die thinking we had not done anything".

In 1966, Ian Bernard Spencer, then aged 33, was charged with her murder and cleared on the orders of the judge who heard the case at trial.

Mr Frost told the BBC's World at One: "As a family we are 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. All we wanted was for the investigation to be reopened and that's what we've achieved."