David Lace named as the killer of Teresa De Simone

David Lace aged 14, three years before the murder

Teresa De Simone

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy News Editor

A BABY-FACED teenager brutally raped and murdered Southampton gas board clerk Teresa De Simone 30 years ago, it can be revealed today.

David Andrew Lace was just 17 when he carried out the horrific killing as 22-year-old Teresa got in her car to drive home following a night out to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

He confessed his guilty secret to police in 1983, four years after his crime – but nothing ever came of it.

His statement was placed in a file alongside the admissions of at least five others who claimed to have played a part in the killing.

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Lace fled his home in Portsmouth to start a new life more than 100 miles away in Devon – where he killed himself in December 1988. He didn’t leave a note or explanation as to why.

Only seven days after his death, Lace’s family left poignant tributes in a newspaper.

One, from his parents, questioned: “God only knows why.”

Meanwhile, for 27 long years, another man Sean Hodgson was incarcerated in prison, wrongly jailed for life for the monstrous murder in the car park at the back of the Tom Tackle pub in Commercial Road.

He was only released in March this year after a successful appeal against the conviction.

The real killer’s identity can today be revealed after lengthy forensic tests – using DNA from his remains that were exhumed from a Hampshire graveyard last month – returned a perfect match, proving Lace is almost certainly responsible.

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It is likely that the match between Lace’s DNA and that taken from the scene of the horrific sex attack and strangling in 1979 was so definitive that it would mean a billion-toone likelihood of someone else being responsible.

Police reopened the investigation into Teresa’s murder at the start of the year when lawyers acting for Sean Hodgson – the man wrongly jailed for life for Teresa’s murder in 1982 – launched an appeal bid at the High Court in London.

Comments (10)

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8:17am Thu 17 Sep 09

TGRWorzel says...

I'm amazed that forensic science can now hold the dead to account...
I'm amazed that forensic science can now hold the dead to account... TGRWorzel
  • Score: 0

8:48am Thu 17 Sep 09

Nearly an OAP says...

After this disclosure Sean Hodgson should be immediately compensated for his 27 years of lost freedom. This could again happen to an innocent vulnerable person and probably has many times.
After this disclosure Sean Hodgson should be immediately compensated for his 27 years of lost freedom. This could again happen to an innocent vulnerable person and probably has many times. Nearly an OAP
  • Score: 0

9:02am Thu 17 Sep 09

freemantlegirl2 says...

I'm glad this case has finally been solved. Amazing forensic work. I hope Theresa's family will have some peace of mind. It won't be much compensation to Sean Hodgson or his family and I agree compensation is in order, and measures should be put into place that a vulnerable person who confesses to a crime is thoroughly investigated. Hopefully with DNA breakthroughs these injustices will be less commonplace, or even prevented completely. Nevertheless this was a terrible injustice and one which money cannot put right :(
I'm glad this case has finally been solved. Amazing forensic work. I hope Theresa's family will have some peace of mind. It won't be much compensation to Sean Hodgson or his family and I agree compensation is in order, and measures should be put into place that a vulnerable person who confesses to a crime is thoroughly investigated. Hopefully with DNA breakthroughs these injustices will be less commonplace, or even prevented completely. Nevertheless this was a terrible injustice and one which money cannot put right :( freemantlegirl2
  • Score: 0

9:33am Thu 17 Sep 09

Brite Spark says...

The police could have verified that David Lace's DNA was left at the scene of the murder, and that Sean Hodgson's was not, at any time during the last 20 years. Once the police had convicted the wrong man, they sat on their hands whilst Hodgson rotted in prison for 27 years. They should explain why they didn't test Lace's DNA many years ago, and they should state why they ignored the fact that Hodgson's DNA was not found at the crime scene.
The police could have verified that David Lace's DNA was left at the scene of the murder, and that Sean Hodgson's was not, at any time during the last 20 years. Once the police had convicted the wrong man, they sat on their hands whilst Hodgson rotted in prison for 27 years. They should explain why they didn't test Lace's DNA many years ago, and they should state why they ignored the fact that Hodgson's DNA was not found at the crime scene. Brite Spark
  • Score: 0

9:46am Thu 17 Sep 09

Adrian-Smith says...

TGRWorzel wrote:
I'm amazed that forensic science can now hold the dead to account...
I know what you mean. Even the report above states:-

"proving Lace is almost certainly responsible".

OK, he did it - but a Court hasn't confirmed that and never will.
[quote][p][bold]TGRWorzel[/bold] wrote: I'm amazed that forensic science can now hold the dead to account...[/p][/quote]I know what you mean. Even the report above states:- "proving Lace is almost certainly responsible". OK, he did it - but a Court hasn't confirmed that and never will. Adrian-Smith
  • Score: 0

10:12am Thu 17 Sep 09

freemantlegirl2 says...

Brite Spark wrote:
The police could have verified that David Lace's DNA was left at the scene of the murder, and that Sean Hodgson's was not, at any time during the last 20 years. Once the police had convicted the wrong man, they sat on their hands whilst Hodgson rotted in prison for 27 years. They should explain why they didn't test Lace's DNA many years ago, and they should state why they ignored the fact that Hodgson's DNA was not found at the crime scene.
Yes very good point, DNA is only a relatively new thing but there is another column here where it says Sean will sue the Police. Those questions will be answered in the course of time. and right too that a Court of Law hasn't found Lace 'guilty' but I think they have done that so that they can close the case, Let Hodgson claim compension and most importantly perhaps so that the family can have closure.
[quote][p][bold]Brite Spark[/bold] wrote: The police could have verified that David Lace's DNA was left at the scene of the murder, and that Sean Hodgson's was not, at any time during the last 20 years. Once the police had convicted the wrong man, they sat on their hands whilst Hodgson rotted in prison for 27 years. They should explain why they didn't test Lace's DNA many years ago, and they should state why they ignored the fact that Hodgson's DNA was not found at the crime scene.[/p][/quote]Yes very good point, DNA is only a relatively new thing but there is another column here where it says Sean will sue the Police. Those questions will be answered in the course of time. and right too that a Court of Law hasn't found Lace 'guilty' but I think they have done that so that they can close the case, Let Hodgson claim compension and most importantly perhaps so that the family can have closure. freemantlegirl2
  • Score: 0

12:01pm Thu 17 Sep 09

Bassett Boy says...

Wonderful stuff DNA, we couldn't do without it!
But the question we should all be asking is why the police did not take his confession seriously and investigate it thouroughly, along with the 5 other "confessions"
Had this been done in 1983 when it should have been then justice would have been done and not the serious miscarriage that has happened.
Back in those days and to some extend today as well, there is the underlying thought that "we've got someone banged up so that'll do".
It didn't seem to matter whether that person was really guilty or not.
Back in the 80's there were several infamous cases where the plod planted evidence to get a conviction. I'm not suggesting that was done in this case, but the slightly backward Sean Hodgson made for a good fall guy and that , as they say, was that!
So let's try and get the truth from the police as to why his confession wasn't properly investigated untill 2009 when the fall guy was suddenly proven to be innocent.
Wonderful stuff DNA, we couldn't do without it! But the question we should all be asking is why the police did not take his confession seriously and investigate it thouroughly, along with the 5 other "confessions" Had this been done in 1983 when it should have been then justice would have been done and not the serious miscarriage that has happened. Back in those days and to some extend today as well, there is the underlying thought that "we've got someone banged up so that'll do". It didn't seem to matter whether that person was really guilty or not. Back in the 80's there were several infamous cases where the plod planted evidence to get a conviction. I'm not suggesting that was done in this case, but the slightly backward Sean Hodgson made for a good fall guy and that , as they say, was that! So let's try and get the truth from the police as to why his confession wasn't properly investigated untill 2009 when the fall guy was suddenly proven to be innocent. Bassett Boy
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Thu 17 Sep 09

bullarboy says...

Eight seperate articles on this case? Eight!! - Ok it might be of interest to some local people who were around at the time - but come on Echo talk about milking a story - Far too much exposure.
Eight seperate articles on this case? Eight!! - Ok it might be of interest to some local people who were around at the time - but come on Echo talk about milking a story - Far too much exposure. bullarboy
  • Score: 0

1:06pm Thu 17 Sep 09

southy says...

well well, is it a change of people or a change of heart, i can remember back in march when it first came out that sean hodgson was going to be release, many on here run him down,
dna 30 years ago was practly unheard off, they was still trying to put the dna strands together, and could not be used has evidence, it was not till 10 years later did they know it could be used has evidence, and it had better odds than finger prints of 2 peolpe having being the same genic marks.
well well, is it a change of people or a change of heart, i can remember back in march when it first came out that sean hodgson was going to be release, many on here run him down, dna 30 years ago was practly unheard off, they was still trying to put the dna strands together, and could not be used has evidence, it was not till 10 years later did they know it could be used has evidence, and it had better odds than finger prints of 2 peolpe having being the same genic marks. southy
  • Score: 0

6:21am Fri 18 Sep 09

latitude19 says...

Sean Hodgson confessed, A nice easy wrap up of the case, 5 other confessions, clearly Sean Hodgsons was the more believeable at the time,
lesson learnt i think, never confess unless your guilty, He does not deserve a pay out but the wet left wing PC human rights brigade will insist. shame Hanging was not still around and then he would have thought twice before confessing.
As for Lace, Typical a skate done the crime, no more to be said there.
Sean Hodgson confessed, A nice easy wrap up of the case, 5 other confessions, clearly Sean Hodgsons was the more believeable at the time, lesson learnt i think, never confess unless your guilty, He does not deserve a pay out but the wet left wing PC human rights brigade will insist. shame Hanging was not still around and then he would have thought twice before confessing. As for Lace, Typical a skate done the crime, no more to be said there. latitude19
  • Score: 0

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