Saturday, 27 October 2012
Sean Hodgson, wrongfully jailed for 1979 murder, dies
A man wrongfully jailed for 27 years for a murder he did not commit has died three years after being released from prison.
Sean Hodgson, 61, of County Durham, was jailed for the 1979 murder of Teresa De Simone, 22, in Southampton.
His conviction was quashed in 2009 after advances in DNA testing showed he was innocent and another man, now dead, was the likely killer.
Mr Hodgson was one of the UK's longest serving miscarriage of justice victims.
His solicitor described his death from emphysema as very sad.
Julian Young said Mr Hodgson, originally from Tow Law, had found life difficult after spending so long in prison.
He received substantial damages but struggled to cope with life on the outside, the lawyer said.'Pathological liar'
In May 2011 Mr Hodgson, then living in Willington, was given a community order with supervision at Durham Crown Court, after sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman.
In 1979 the body of Miss De Simone 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.
She also worked full-time for Southern Gas.
Mr Hodgson made various confessions to the murder, but his defence said he was a pathological liar and the confessions were untrue.
More than a quarter of a century after his conviction, a forensic review discovered that DNA found at the scene was not his.
At the time of the trial such evidence was not available, and it subsequently revealed that the suspected murderer was David Lace, who killed himself in December 1988 when he was aged 26 and living in Brixham, Devon.
Senior judges at the Court of Appeal went on to rule that Mr Hodgson's conviction was "unsafe" and quashed it.
His 27 years in jail made him one of the longest-serving victims of a known miscarriage of justice in English legal history.
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