THE family of David Lace today issued a statement explaining their shock at discovering he murdered Teresa De Simone, It said: "As a family we have been left shocked and saddened at the latest news that David has been show to have been responsible for such a terrible crime.

"We very much wish to extend our sympathies and condolences to Teresa De Simone's family at what must be a very difficult time for them.

"Since first learning of the police's suspicions we have, as a family, sought to co-operate with the investigation and have done whatever has been asked of us.

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"We have done so out of a desire to establish the truth as speedily as possible, for the sake of everyone involved.

"We would now politely ask for the media to respect our privacy whist we attempt to come to terms with the situation."

Lace's sister-in-law, who does not wish to be named, said the first they knew of his involvement in the murder was when police contacted them earlier this summer.

She said the news came as a complete surprise to her husband, who had not known about his brother's confession in the 1980s.

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She said there were four brothers and two sisters in the family.

She said: ''The first we knew was when the police contacted us. It was a shock to everybody, nobody suspected anything.

''My husband never knew anything about it, none of the brothers or sisters knew.''