How we use Cookies

Justice for Marion after 21 years - by PAT FRANKLIN

Almost 21 years after Fleet teenager Marion Crofts was found brutally murdered beside the Basingstoke Canal, her attacker has been jailed for life.

Almost 21 years after Fleet teenager Marion Crofts was found brutally murdered beside the Basingstoke Canal, her attacker has been jailed for life.

Former Army chef Tony Jasinskyj was convicted on DNA evidence after he assaulted his second wife. A swab was taken from his cheek and put on to the national DNA database and was found to match DNA from semen left on Marion's body.

The jury at Winchester on Friday took three hours to find Jasinskyj guilty of both rape and murder. He was jailed for life for the murder and 10 years for the rape, to run concurrently. In the public gallery there were shouts of "yes!" as the verdicts were announced. Marion's mother and father, Anne and Trevor, were there throughout the four week trial.

In the dock Jasinkyj shrugged and shook his head.

Judge Michael Brodrick said Jasinskyj had committed a "cruel and callous murder" which caused Marion's family to suffer 21 years of anguish as they throught of "the final, dreadful, brutal moments of her life."

Marion was cycling to band practice at Wavell School in Farnborough from her home at Basingbourne Close, Fleet, when Jasinskyj, then aged 24, attacked her on Laffans Road, Aldershot, which runs alongside the canal, on Saturday, June 6, 1981. She was raped and strangled.

Her mother and sister Sarah, aged 16, found her plimsolls, a sock and a sponsorship form in the road as they searched for her.

A police dog handler found Marion's body later that day in a copse alongside Laffans Road, close to the army golf club. Her clarinet was found floating in the canal by a canoeist.

Police launched a major operation, with four two-man teams touring the country and abroad, taking 850 DNA swabs from men who had been in the area at the time of the murder. Somehow Jasinskyj slipped through without being tested.

It was not until April last year that Jasinskyj, then working as a lorry driver, was exposed as the killer after he assaulted his second wife in Leicester.

A routine swab was taken by the arresting officer and it matched that of Marion's killer.

Jasinskyj's first wife said: "It makes me sick to think that he was probably bouncing my baby on his knee the day after he murdered Marion."

His second wife said she was "extremely glad" about the guilty verdict and relieved that he would not now be able to hurt anyone else.

Meanwhile police are checking back through their files to re-examine unsolved cases.

In a statement the Crofts family thanked the police for not giving up and added: "Today marks the end of 21 years of agony for our family, the agony of wondering who killed Marion and wondering if he is still out there.

"The pain of her death remains. No sentence can heal us. No verdict will bring Marion back to us.

"Nevertheless, we are grateful that Marion's killer has been brought to justice. We hope that this family can now get on with their lives without the worry that Marion's killer is still at large.

"We want to thank everyone involved in this investigation - the police, the forensic science service and the media - for not giving up.

"At times, it was hard for us to see what good the investigation was, so many years after Marion's death.

"But, having heard the evidence against her killer, we are relieved that he is no longer a free man.

"The Crofts family makes one earnest appeal to you now. Please leave us alone. Please let us try to heal."


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
Full newsroom contact details
Tell us what's happening in your area