Was murdered schoolgirl Elsie Frost ‘killed by gay cruisers’?

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The BBC has aired a theory suggesting that murdered schoolgirl Elsie Frost was killed by gay cruisers.

14-year-old Wakefield schoolgirl Elsie Frost was found stabbed to death near a canal towpath nearly 50 years ago, on 9 October 1965.

The murder has remained unsolved ever since, with little subsequent investigation after an initial subject was cleared.

However, the BBC’s iPM show has been looking into the crime alongside Elsie’s elder sister Anne, and younger brother Colin.

Amid a fresh appeal for evidence from police, the Radio 4 show aired a surprising theory – suggesting that the schoolgirl was killed after stumbling upon gay men having sex.

Homosexuality between men of any age was still illegal at the time of the schoolgirl’s death, and would not be permitted until the Sexual Offences Act 1967, two years later.

Janis Hirst, a nurse and former friend of Elsie’s, recounted a second-hand theory on the show – though it was urged to be treated with a “high degree of caution”.

She recalled that a former nursing colleague had once treated a man who, while under the influence of medicine, confessed to being present at the crime.

Ms Hirst recounted: “This nurse said that she had worked in the hospital where a man had been brought in, and he had confessed under drugs to being present at the murder of Elsie.

“He said that he was in the long grass with another man committing a homosexual act, when Elsie had stumbled over them, and then ran off.

“The [other] man had chased her, and stabbed her, and he had confessed that he had seen this while he was under the influence of medication.”

Homosexuality was highly stigmatised at the time of Elsie’s death, however – and it was not uncommon for murder theories to be embellished with details of ‘salacious’ homosexual acts.

West Yorkshire police have launched a fresh appeal for evidence into the crime.