Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009

Jailed man's confession 'apology'

Teresa De Simone
Teresa De Simone was strangled

A prisoner who could be freed after DNA evidence cast doubt over his conviction has apologised for wrongly confessing to murder in 1979.

Sean Hodgson, 57, has served 27 years of a life term for strangling Teresa De Simone, 22, in Southampton.

"He emphasises that at the time he made certain admissions to the police he was ill," said his lawyer Julian Young.

Thanks to new DNA tests Hodgson is expected to walk free when his case is heard at the Court of Appeal this week.

After speaking to his client in prison, Mr Young told the BBC: "He [Sean Hodgson] has told me to say that he is very sorry for the upset this has caused the victim's family. He hopes the police will catch the person who did do this."

Hodgson, who is also known as Robert Graham Hodgson, would be one of the longest-serving victims of a miscarriage of justice if his conviction is overturned.

Murder scene
Miss De Simone's body was found near the pub where she worked

Miss De Simone's partially-clothed body was found in the back seat of her Ford Escort in a car park beneath the Tom Tackle pub where she worked part-time as a barmaid.

Hodgson made various confessions to the murder but his defence said he was a pathological liar and the confessions were untrue.

At his trial at Winchester Crown Court he pleaded not guilty to a single charge of murder.

The jury found him guilty in 1982 and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

DNA tests were not available at the time but, after requests from Mr Hodgson's legal team, Hampshire Constabulary and the Forensic Science Service undertook a comprehensive forensic case review in November 2008.

Following this review the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) decided to refer the case to the Court of Appeal after two days - making it one of the fastest in the commission's history.



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