David Lace was the killer of Teresa de Simone: confirmed by DNA

Saturday 19 September 2009 at 10:22 pm | In News | Post Comment
Sean Hodgon spent 27 years in prison for the crime committed by David Lace. In 1988, Lace aged 26, raped and strangled Teresa de Simone aged 22 in Southampton. Nine years later Lace killed himself.

Lace, a petty criminal and drifter from Portsmouth had been tormented by his crime, the knowledge that an innocent man was in prison for it and by the refusal of police to accept his confession. He cut his wrists, took an overdose of painkillers finally suffocating himself with a plastic bag. In the weeks before his suicide, he gave up work and gave away his possessions.

It was not until 17 September 2009 that the police publicly identified him as the killer.

The police exhumed Lace’s body to match his DNA to the murder of Ms de Simone; the match was a “billion-to-one” confirming Lace was the killer and proved beyond any doubt that Sean Hodgson was the victim of an injustice.

Sean Hodgson
Sean Hodgson

Lace’s body was the third to be exhumed to obtain DNA; the first was that of Joseph Kappen in 2001 who had killed three young women in 1973. Hanratty was dug up in 2002 to prove he had killed Michael Gregsten.

Over twenty years after Lace’s death, Mr Hodgson again appealed this time DNA evidence ensured his acquittal. The murder inquiry was reopened.

Material from the 1979 crime scene gave the Forensic Science Service a profile that narrowed the search for her killer down to 30,000 records on the national database

Old-fashioned detective work involving examination of old case files and tracing people who gave statements 30 years ago led police to a relative of the killer, David Lace.

Mr Hodgson is in poor mental and physical health and needs regular medication and psychiatric care.

Mr Hodgson’s solicitor will seek compensation for his client, which will be capped at £1million, minus a charge for the accommodation and food ‘enjoyed’ by Mr Hodgson during the last 27 years.

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