INCONSISTENCIES in the confession of David Lace to the rape and murder of Teresa De Simone led officers to discredit him as a suspect.

Lace confessed to the crime some 18 months after Sean Hodgson had been found guilty at Winchester Crown Court in 1982.

Mr Hodgson went on to wrongly serve 27 years in jail before being freed earlier this year on the strength of forensic DNA evidence.

According to DCI Phil McTavish, who has been leading the investigation since before the release of Sean Hodgson, officers at the time of the original confession were not confessed Lace was telling the truth.

David Lace's Confession

Reading the statement Lace gave to police in 1983, DCI McTavish said: "David Lace was in custody for a series of burglaries in Portsmouth on the 16th of September 1983.

"Whilst being interviewed by local officers in relations to these offences he stated that he wished to tell them about a murder he had committed.

"He stated that he could no longer live with what he had done and he was better off in prison.

"They interviewed him and realising that he was referring to the murder of Teresa De Simone they duly notified officers involved with that investigation.

"He then submitted to a more detailed interview by officers from the investigation during which he disclosed the following and this detail is taken from a record of that interview conducted with David Lace on the 17th of September 1983.

"He stated that he had stolen a rucksack and cash from his lodgings in Portsmouth on the 4th of December 1979, the day before Teresa's murder.

"That matter was reported to police in Portsmouth at the time and he was subsequently arrested and charged with these matters on the 10th of December. He made no disclosure at that time in relation to the murder in Southampton.

"He then walked to Southampton, arriving at some point in the evening, possibly after the pubs had closed and was present at the rear of the Tom Tackle pub in the early hours of the 5th of December when Teresa was dropped back at her car by a friend.

"He approached the car and knocked on the window, asking Teresa the time. He then forced his way into the driver's seat beside her and locked the doors to prevent her escape.

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"He described Teresa, her clothing and how he used violence to subdue her. She struggled, he sexually assaulted her and strangled her using the passenger seatbelt in the car.

"He admitted subjecting Teresa to a violent attack and sensed that he had killed her. He removed her handbag and items of jewellery, concealing the handbag in bushes nearby. He kept cash from the handbag, but he kept the jewellery.

"He left Teresa lying across the back seat of her car. He hid for approximately 10 minutes before going to Southampton railway station and catching a train back to [Portsmouth].

"There is a note at the foot of the interview indicating that David Lace described his background and inability to cope with life and that he wished to be locked up."