HAMPSHIRE police will not be investigated independently over its handling of the original inquiry into the murder of Teresa De Simone, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Following a lengthy assessment, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has ruled that it would “serve no purpose” because of the 30 years that have passed since the killing.
Teresa was brutally raped and strangled and her body found in the back of her car, following a night out to celebrate a friend’s birthday in December 1979.
The case – dubbed The Tom Tackle murder – was reopened in March this year after the man thought to be responsible was released from prison when DNA evidence proved he could not be the real killer.
Last month the baby-faced killer was identified as Teresa’s murderer following forensic tests.
However, it was revealed that Lace, who was just 17 at the time of the killing, had confessed his crime to police in the 1980s – but it had been written off. He then went on to kill himself, thought to be unable to live with his guilt.
The details of the confession, and that of five others made in the years after Teresa’s murder, were never passed on to Mr Hodgson’s legal team who were only made aware of the information when Lace was identified.
Criticism was levelled at Hampshire Constabulary for the failure of officers at the time, to pass on the information, or even to link it to the case files.
The case was referred to the IPCC – the independent police regulator – on September 16 this year when Hampshire police publicly confirmed David Lace as the suspect they would charge had he been alive.
IPCC commissioner for the south east, Mike Franklin, said: “We have spent several weeks assessing this case in detail and focused on three specific aspects of it.
“Firstly, the original murder investigation; secondly, the handling of David Lace’s admission in 1983 and thirdly, the request from Robert Hodgson’s solicitors in 1998 for forensic examination of exhibits.
“While acknowledging that this was an extremely serious miscarriage of justice, we had to assess this case in terms of what the IPCC could add by undertaking a full investigation.”
Pointing to the fact that police chiefs from the time have since died, Mr Franklin said an independent investigation “would serve no purpose in identifying areas of discipline or learning opportunities due to the passage of time” and would instead be returned to Hampshire police.
Mr Franklin said changes had now been implemented that ensured all exhibits relating to a case are now kept until a convicted person has completed their sentence.
Det Chief Supt Shirley Dinnell, Head of CID, said: “Hampshire Constabulary welcomes the outcome of the IPCC assessment and the comments made in relation to this case. The constabulary voluntarily referred this case to the IPCC because of the miscarriage of justice that took place and to ensure transparency of inquiries.
“It was due to the hard work of the Serious Crime Review Team in identifying the suspect which enabled us to bring this 30-year-old murder to a conclusion.”