Man wrongfully jailed faces rape charges

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A MAN who spent 27 years in jail after being wrongly imprisoned for raping and strangling a Hampshire barmaid is facing rape charges.

Sean Hodgson confessed to the rape and murder of 22-year-old Teresa De Simone in 1979.

The 22-year-old's body was found in her car at the Tom Tackle pub in Commercial Road, Southampton, on December 5 that year.

Hodgson was convicted and jailed in 1982, despite solicitors claiming he was a pathological liar.

The 59-year-old was only released in March last year by the Court of Appeal after fresh DNA evidence proved he was not the killer.

Now Hodgson, from Tow Law, County Durham, faces fresh charges of rape and sexual assault, relating to an alleged incident in the North-East in August.

He appeared at Durham Crown Court on Thursday where he was remanded in custody.

In making the bail application, Hodgson's barrister Julian Young told judge Christopher Prince: 'This is a man who has already suffered one terrible miscarriage of justice and he could now suffer another. I would hate to see that happen to Sean Hodgson again.'

In September last year police named Teresa De Simone's real killer as David Lace, who committed suicide in 1988 aged 26. Lace's body had exhumed from Kingston Cemetery in New Road, Copnor, Portsmouth, in August 2009. Tests later revealed his DNA was a one in one billion match for that discovered at the crime scene.

Lace had confessed to raping and murdering Miss De Simone in 1983 while he was in custody for a series of burglaries committed in Portsmouth. But investigating officers concluded there were too many inconsistencies in his story. Lace's confession was disregarded until Hodgson's release. Hodgson has received 250,000 of a 1m settlement for wrongful imprisonment.