The man who spent 27 years in jail and recently released for a crime he did not commit shares his story in his own words.
“Ecstatic” was the one word answer from Robert Hodgson when asked by reporters how he felt after being released from prison after serving a 27 year sentence for a crime he did not commit.
Hodgson, 57, originally from Tow Law, County Durham, UK, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of gas-board clerk Teresa De Simone in 1979 after she was found strangled in Southampton. (Northern Echo)
Following the emergence of new DNA evidence Hodgson’s conviction (which made him one of the longest serving victims of a miscarriage of justice) was deemed by Lord Judge to be unsafe.
The body of Miss De Simone was found, partially clothed in the back of her Ford Escort in the car park of the pub the Tom Tackle where she worked, having been strangled with her gold crucifix necklace. (Guardian)
DNA tests were unavailable at the time of Hodgson’s trial. His conviction was based on prosecuting evidence relating to a matching blood type to samples found at the scene, and various confessions Hodgson made to the police.
At the time of the trial Hodgson’s defence described him as a pathological liar and that his confessions were false.
The Court of Appeal Judge said swabs taken from the dead girl showed that there were sufficient remnants of sperm on them for proper DNA analysis, resulting in the conclusion that the sample on the swabs did not come from the appellant.
Lord Judge said: “ Whoever raped her - on these findings, it can't be the appellant.
"The Crown's case was that whoever raped her also killed her, so the new DNA evidence has demolished the case for the prosecution."
Hodgson’s release came as a result of requests from his legal team to Hampshire Police and the Forensic Science Service who carried out a case review in November 2008.
Adding insult to injury it also emerged today that Hodgson could have been released ten years earlier. His legal team asked the Forensic Science Service to review the case in 1998 but were wrongly told that the exhibits had been destroyed.
Speaking on behalf of his brother outside the court Peter Hodgson said:
"On behalf of my brother, I would like to thank the solicitor a million, million times. I’ve had a dream for 27 years. I know it's a hell of a long time, but it's finally come true." (BBC)
Det Ch Insp Philip McTavish, from Hampshire Police, said: “Hampshire Constabulary has consequently started a reinvestigation into the murder of Teresa De Simone and this is aimed at identifying the owner of the DNA profile.”
Hodgson could be in line for substantial compensation payments running in to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The Crown Prosecution Service did not oppose the appeal.
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