New sex attack led police to 1976 killer through DNA
A FORMER soldier who raped and killed a schoolgirl 40 years ago was only caught when he sexually assaulted another teenager last year, it can be revealed.
Stephen Hough, 58, was last week found guilty of the manslaughter of 15-year-old Janet Commins, who was killed in Flint in 1976. An innocent man was jailed for the attack at the time, but the case was reopened last year when Hough was arrested in connection with another attack and his DNA was found to match swabs taken from Janet’s body and stored.
Hough had been due to stand trial for last year’s attack in September but admitted the charges after he was convicted of Janet’s manslaughter and rape.
Mold Crown Court heard how the former soldier had been thrown out of the Army for attacking and strangling another woman in the Eighties. In February last year, he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl after plying her with alcohol. In a victim impact statement, she said: “Thinking about it makes me feel sick. Having heard the devastation of what Stephen Hough has done previously, I feel fortunate things were not worse.”
Mr Justice Clive Lewis sentenced Hough to three years for the sexual assault on the girl, to be served consecutive to his 12-year sentence. He will be eligible for parole after half of the 15-year sentence. He said: “Over the last 40 years, you have killed someone, and also been found guilty of grievous bodily harm on another woman. You have shown no remorse.”
Outside court, Derek Ierston, who identified his niece’s body, spoke on behalf of the family, saying they were “very disappointed” with the sentence.
Hough hid his guilt for killing Janet while another man, Noel Jones, was jailed for her manslaughter in 1976.
North Wales Police is under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over how it handled the 1976 investigation.