Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 10:12 UK

Suspect declared over 1979 murder

Teresa De Simone
Teresa De Simone had been raped and strangled

The parents of a woman killed 30 years ago say they are "encouraged" after police identified a suspect.

Sean Hodgson had spent 27 years in jail for the murder of Teresa De Simone, 22, in Southampton, but his conviction was quashed in March.

Mr Hodgson, 57, was released after DNA found at the scene of the murder was re-examined and proved not to be his.

Police said lengthy and complex work is now under way to find a link between the male suspect and the DNA profile.

Miss De Simone's family told BBC News they were "encouraged by the development".

Missing paperwork

Det Ch Insp Phil McTavish, of Hampshire Police, said: "Whilst work is ongoing to maximise DNA evidence, the inquiry team is confident they are on the right track and hopefully could be close to solving this 30-year-old murder.

"The investigation team is working closely with the Forensic Science Service to fully review all of the DNA evidence in the case in light of the new suspect and ultimately our aim is to prove or disprove this man's involvement in Teresa's murder."

Sean Hodgson (L) is supported by his brother Peter Hodgson on the steps of the High Court after being released
Mr Hodgson said he felt "ecstatic" to be a free man again

Miss De Simone's partially-clothed body was found in December 1979 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.

After her murder, officers took 2,500 statements, traced 500 people who were in the area of the murder at the time and had up to 300 suspects.

But police admitted in March they faced a tough task to sift through the original case for fresh leads because of missing paperwork.

Mr Hodgson, originally from County Durham, confessed at the time of the original inquiry to killing Miss De Simone.

But he pleaded not guilty at his 1982 trial at Winchester Crown Court, where his defence team said he was a pathological liar.

Mr Hodgson is expected to claim substantial compensation for the years spent behind bars.



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SEE ALSO
Family pain over quashed verdict
20 Mar 09 |  Hampshire
Hodgson's freedom '11 years late'
19 Mar 09 |  Hampshire
Man's 1979 murder verdict quashed
18 Mar 09 |  Hampshire
Hodgson 'will struggle to cope'
18 Mar 09 |  England
Shock over 1979 murder DNA appeal
12 Mar 09 |  Hampshire

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