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My sister’s murder revealed a dark family secret that was hidden for DECADES


A MAN has spoken out after his ‘sister’ was murdered by her own gardener – as the horror revealed a dark secret that was hidden for DECADES.

Lesley Pearson was strangled to death by a handyman in a row over wages in Spain – causing utter heartbreak to her whole family.

The last known picture of Lesley Pearson with her brother, Steve, before she was murdered

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The last known picture of Lesley Pearson with her brother, Steve, before she was murderedCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk
Lesley was murdered in Spain - but died not knowing the truth about her parentage

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Lesley was murdered in Spain – but died not knowing the truth about her parentageCredit: Google

Martial arts expert, Francisco Javier Becerra, stuffed a handkerchief inside Lesley’s mouth and brutally murdered her before stealing cash from her wallet.

He then buried her body in a shallow grave in the garden of her luxury remote Spanish villa.

She was found covered in quicklime, 10 days after she disappeared in July 2019 in Spain.

Becerra was jailed for 12 and a half years in December last year.

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But the horrific murder also unlocked a secret for her grieving family members.

Lesley’s brother, Steve Ramsbottom, from Rossendale, Lancashire, revealed that detectives on the case discovered through DNA that he and his sister had different fathers.

He was shocked to find out that his sibling Lesley was actually just his half-sister – a secret that he never knew before her death.

Speaking about the ordeal, Steve, 74, said: “I was gobsmacked.

“Me and Lesley were so close. People always said we were like chalk and cheese, but I never in a million years expected this.

“Lesley’s body was so decomposed; the Spanish police were struggling to identify her body.

“As her brother and only living relative, they asked me for a DNA sample.

“But the test showed we had different fathers! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

The dad-of-two said that he found out his sister had been killed and immediately called the police – who said that the gardener was put into custody.

But detectives couldn’t let him see Lesley’s body, as it had been decomposed because of the substance she was buried in.

Steve added: “I was shocked beyond belief. On landing in Spain, I asked if I could see Lesley, but they told me she had decomposed badly due to the climate and being covered in lime.

“They asked me if they could take a DNA swab to help identify her. I immediately agreed.

BURIED TRUTH

“The first test came back inconclusive, so they had to do another one.

“It was two days later when the police and the pathologist sat me down in a room at the station and told me that the DNA test showed conclusively that we had we had different parentage.

“Both my mother and my father were dead by that point, and there was nobody left to ask.

“My dad, Stan, fought in World War Two and didn’t return home until June 1945. Lesley was born 4th April 1945. I know that my dad had not been home in between.

“Never in a thousand years had either of us suspected anything like this. We just didn’t put two and two together growing up and it never occurred to either me or Les.”

The brother added that Lesley would have been “heartbroken” to find out their dad wasn’t really her dad.

He added: “Lesley never had children and loved her family. She was a real daddy’s girl when she was a kid.

Steve only found out that he and his sister didn't share the same dad after her brutal murder

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Steve only found out that he and his sister didn’t share the same dad after her brutal murderCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk
Francisco Javier Becerra was jailed for the murder

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Francisco Javier Becerra was jailed for the murderCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk

“First, I had to take in the news that Lesley was dead, then that she was murdered, and her body dumped.

“On top of that, finding out we were never full siblings was a huge blow. I was devasted.

“People often commented that me and Lesley were opposites. I was always very outgoing and sociable.

“We were very different people but loved each other and cared for each regardless.”

Steve said that he had to come to terms with the shock – and he’s glad that his sister never found out the truth about their parentage.

Steve and Lesley grew up in Manchester, and Steve took over running the family’s chip shop after their parents, Stan and Betty, moved to Mallorca, Spain.

Thirty years ago, Lesley moved to Spain with her partner, Frank, and Steve and his partner Chris, 69, visited them three times a year.

Steve, a dad of two sons, tragically lost his teenage son, Matthew, in July 1996.

Lesley eventually settled in a villa called ‘Casa Lele’ – named after her and set in the wilderness above Algar, Spain.  In 2013, Frank died following a car crash.

HORROR MURDER

Steve said: “Lesley missed Frank, but she trained in yoga and massage. She kept herself busy, she had a flat in Gibraltar where she spent most of her time.”

In September 2018, a few months before Lesley was murdered, Steve and Chris flew out for what would be their last visit.

Steve added: “We took her for lunch, and Chris took our photo. Little did I know that it would be the last ever photo I’d have.

“In fact, the police later used that same photo to help identify Lesley from her jewellery.”

In July 2019, Lesley was reported missing after she failed to return a hire car, before a trip to Gibraltar.

Ten days on, Steve learned that she was dead.

In December last year, Becerra admitted murdering Lesley and was jailed for 12 years by a Spanish court.

He claimed he had lashed out at Lesley and strangled her in a row over his wages.

He had falsely claimed to villagers she had sold her home to a Romanian family and he had started selling off her things.

Becerra said at his trial: “I didn’t want to hurt her, I got on well with her.”

Judge Lourdes Marin Fernandez said he killed her with “direct intent”. Becerra was also ordered to pay £20,300 in compensation to Steve.

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Steve said: “I haven’t had a penny of compensation and that doesn’t bother me. Money won’t bring Lesley back.

“There are more important things in life.”





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