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.