New sex at­tack led po­lice to 1976 killer through DNA

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Martin Evans crime cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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