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Marion Crofts killer and rapist loses conviction appeal bid

Tony Jasinskyj's argument over unsafe DNA evidence at his trial two decades after the killing was rejected by the Court of Appeal

Killer Tony Jasinskyj and victim Marion Crofts
Killer Tony Jasinskyj and victim Marion Crofts

A former army chef who raped and murdered a 14-year-old schoolgirl from Fleet in the early 1980s has failed to persuade top judges that he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Tony Jasinskyj, 57, was a lance corporal stationed in Aldershot in June 1981 when he strangled 14-year-old Marion Crofts, after sexually attacking her as she cycled by the Basingstoke Canal in the army town.

Jasinskyj escaped detection until he was brought to justice by advances in DNA forensic technology almost two decades later.

He was jailed for life after being convicted of rape and murder at Winchester Crown Court in May 2002.

On Wednesday (July 2), Lady Justice Macur, Mr Justice Phillips and Judge Neil Ford QC, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, heard him argue that the scientific evidence which saw him convicted was flawed.

The court heard that Marion, who played the clarinet, was on her way from her Fleet home to band practice when she was raped and killed by Jasinskyj and her body dumped in bushes.

A "perfect match" was discovered in 2001 between DNA taken from Jasinskyj and that found on Marion's body.

The match was so perfect that experts found there was less than a one in a billion chance of Jasinskyj not being the attacker.

At the time of the murder he was stationed less than a mile-and-a-half away, in army married quarters with his pregnant wife.

His application for permission to appeal against conviction focused on an irregularity in the DNA profile, which experts at the time of his trial explained by reasoning that stray DNA from his victim had been left behind and mixed in with the sample.

Jasinskyj, of Kegworth Avenue, Evington, Leicester, argued this was not the case, but that the anomoly indicated the attacker had been suffering from a chromosome disorder.

That, Jasinskyj argued, exonerated him.

However, Mr Justice Phillips described his grounds of appeal as "fanciful", and the killer's "fixation on an anomaly" could not explain away the otherwise perfect DNA match between himself and the attacker.

His application for permission to appeal was refused, and the judge concluded that his conviction was "entirely safe".

 
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