A FRESH inquest opened yesterday into the death of a young schoolgirl - thought to be a victim of the ‘Beast of Wombwell’.

Elsie Frost was stabbed as she walked home in Wakefield in 1965 and although there did not prove to be a successful prosecution over her murder at the time, detectives who have been reinvestigating the murder since 2016 were preparing to charge convicted child killer and rapist Peter Pickering after new evidence came to light.

But the family’s wish for a new inquest to open was granted following a High Court appearance earlier this year - and they hope it will finally give them the answers they have been waiting for for years.

Pickering, who stabbed and strangled 14-year-old Shirley Boldy in Wombwell seven years after Elsie’s murder, was also convicted of historically raping a woman, a crime he committed near the time of Elsie’s death, and was awaiting sentencing when he died in prison in March 2018, aged 80.

Elsie was attacked from behind and stabbed in the back and head as she walked through a railway tunnel off a canal towpath.

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Ian Bernard Spencer who was originally accused of Elsie’s murder but never charged was visited before his death last year where police officers advised him that there was to be a charge against a major suspect and he would be totally exonerated.

Part of the new evidence cited by the judges, according to High Court documents, includes an allegation that the Metropolitan Police sent a telegram in October 1965 to colleagues in Wakefield stating they regarded Pickering as a ‘potential suspect’.