The conviction today, 32 years after Lesley Molseed was murdered, of her killer is an example of fantastic work by the police and highlight how valuable DNA evidence is in catching criminals. However, the facts of this case have been twisted by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in a cynical way.
On BBC Five Live earlier the Home Secretary said that the reason Ronald Castree was caught was because his DNA had been kept on the DNA register, which enabled the police to subsequently find a match to Lesley Molseed, which led to his conviction. This sounds great, but it is not true.
Every person arrested is DNA checked these days. The DNA of Lesley Molseed's attacker was already on the database. When Ronald Castree was arrested in connection with another sexual offence, he was DNA checked, and this was what brought up the match with Lesley. it had nothing to do with his DNA being kept on the register for ever, which is what the government wants.
Mow I am actually in favour of a DNA register. I think it is accurate, will help the police eliminate innocent people quickly and will help solve crimes (I await the wails and howls from people calling me illiberal). However, when the government lies in order to justify such a register, I am naturally sceptical of its merits.