‘Monster’ Pickering may have killed others, says Elsie Frost’s brother
Colin Frost feels ‘cheated’ that Peter Pickering will not face a jury over his sister’s murder.
The brother of a teenage girl police believe was murdered by Peter Pickering 53 years ago says the so-called Beast Of Wombwell must have committed other serious offences, possibly including further killings.
Pickering, who died on Saturday, had been locked up for more than 45 years following his killing of 14-year-old Shirley Boldy in the Barnsley area of South Yorkshire in 1972.
Announcing his death, West Yorkshire Police confirmed he was expected to be charged with the murder of another 14-year-old, Elsie Frost, whose body was found in Wakefield in 1965.
Elsie’s brother Colin said: “I just feel like we’ve been cheated now out of getting what we’ve been trying to get for so long – justice for Elsie.
“And it’s just not going to happen now, well certainly not in the way that we wanted it – to have Pickering in court.”
Mr Frost, who pushed for the re-investigation of the case three years ago along with his sister, Anne Cleave, said: “It’s just an incredible feeling of frustration now.”
He said the police had done a “fantastic job” but criticised the length of time prosecutors had taken to decide on a charge after detectives handed over the file to the Crown Prosecution Service a year ago.
Mr Frost said: “They uncovered a monster. The man was such a nasty, nasty piece of work.”
Asked if he believed Pickering could have killed others, he said: “I think there’s every likelihood.
“If you’re asking my opinion, there are other offences. I couldn’t say whether it’s another rape, another kidnap, another murder. The suspicion at the back of my mind is that it’s all of them.”
And Mr Frost said he was also thinking about the family of Ian Spencer, a man wrongly accused of the murder more than 50 years ago, who died just a few weeks ago.
Pickering, 80, died at a secure hospital in Berkshire where he was being held under a hospital order made by a judge in 1972 after he admitted the manslaughter of Shirley Boldy by diminished responsibility.
Shirley was bundled into Pickering’s van as she was returning to Wombwell High School.
Pickering drove her to a secluded location where he tied her up and raped her.
He tried to strangle her before stabbing her to death, a crime witnessed by walkers who were too far away to intervene.
Pickering killed Shirley Boldy just three or four weeks after he abducted and violently raped an 18-year-old woman in the Barnsley area.
Earlier this month, this woman, now in her 60s, described to a jury how Pickering had told her she was going to die. She called him a “monster”.
Pickering was still to be sentenced for this attack, which only came to light through the re-investigation of the murder of Elsie Frost.
Elsie was stabbed in the back and head as she walked through a railway tunnel in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in October 1965.
As part of the inquiry detectives looked back through Pickering’s conversations with psychiatrists and also found a storage garage he rented in the Owlerton area of Sheffield containing possessions including handcuffs and exercise books filled with his rantings.
One note written in 1970 said: “Sex is predominant in my mind- eclipsing all else. Maybe I will be a sex maniac proper. Rape, torture, kill.”
Leeds Crown Court heard last week how Pickering had convictions for sex offences dating back to the very early 1960s and was in prison from 1966 to early 1972 for a violent sex attack on a teenager.
A CPS spokeswoman said the Elsie Frost case was a “complex inquiry involving detailed analysis of a large amount of source material from the 1960s”.
She said that although the CPS began to receive formal evidence from July 2017, the complete file was not received from the police until January 2018 and this was when the full review became.
“That review was ongoing until the point of Peter Pickering’s death, however as the CPS will not make a charging decision in respect of a suspect who is deceased, no further action can be taken,” she said.
“We understand that this turn of events must be very distressing and frustrating both for the victim in the rape case for which Pickering was awaiting sentence, and for Elsie’s family. Our thoughts remain with them.”