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Janet Commins killer sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter

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A man has been sentenced at Mold Crown Court to 12 years in prison for the manslaughter, rape and buggery of Janet Commins.

Stephen Anthony Hough, 58, from  Flint, was found guilty last week of raping and killing a 15-year-old girl in 1976.

Janet Commins’ body was found under a hedge in a school playing field in Flint, she had strangled to death.

Hough, a former soldier let another man, Noel Jones, go to jail after killing Janet.

In 2016 a sample of Hough’s DNA was taken by police, it was found to match DNA taken from sperm cells at the crime scene in 1976 and stored for 40 years, it was calculated to be billion times more likely to have originated from Hough than anyone else.

Hough was jailed for 12 years for manslaughter, eight years for rape and eight years for serious sexual assault – sentences are to run concurrently.

Commenting on the sentencing Det Supt Iestyn Davies from the North Wales Police Major Incident Team said;

Today’s sentencing of Stephen Anthony Hough will, I sincerely hope, help to bring some degree of justice to the mother, family, friends of a 15 year old schoolgirl who was callously killed in Flint 40 years ago.

Janet Commins was subjected to an horrific, sustained and brutal sexually motivated assault in January 1976 and the impact upon her family, friends and the entire community was enormous.   Hough is now in prison where he rightly belongs.

This was a very challenging, complicated and emotionally charged investigation and I’d like to publically acknowledge Janet’s family, friends, community and our partners for their understanding, patience and support during what must have been an unimaginably difficult time.

The methodical re-examination of case papers, exhibits and witnesses after 40 years has proved very testing and I’m grateful for the dedication and professionalism of the investigating officers and Crown Prosecution Service who have worked tirelessly since new evidence came to light last year.

Although a previous trial and conviction proved testing recently obtained forensic evidence was a vital component which ultimately led to our prosecution case of overwhelming evidence.

Coupled with the support and co-operation from the local community it has been a joint effort that will ensure Hough is no longer a threat to the public.

I would also like to thanks Mark Heywood QC and Catherine Richards who have skilfully prosecuted this case over the last three weeks.

This was a tragic case and on behalf of North Wales Police I’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to Janet’s family and friends and we hope today’s sentence will bring them, and the community, some small degree of justice.

I would also like to thank the local community for their support, the response and eagerness to assist the investigation was significant and I am extremely grateful to all concerned.

** Please be aware that this video contains content which some viewers may find distressing.**

Family statement

On the 7 th January 1976 my niece Janet Commins was brutally murdered and Raped in Flint, I vividly recall the events surrounding Janet’s death and the misery and desperation her loss caused all the family but in particular her parents Eileen and Edward.

Unfortunately, Edward passed away some years ago following a long illness and is not here today to see justice finally done with the conviction of Hough.

In May last year North Wales approached Eileen to drop the bombshell that Janet’s Murder was being reinvestigated due to scientific advancements over the last forty years, clearly, this was a shock as the family had believed the matter had been dealt with in 1976. Janet was a quiet, innocent, normal

Janet was a quiet, innocent, normal 15-year-old girl who played with a close group of friends in the streets around her home she enjoyed swimming at the Leisure centre in Flint and things that normal 15-year-old’s do. Eileen’s had a close relationship with her only daughter Janet, describing her as

Eileen’s had a close relationship with her only daughter Janet, describing her as loving and caring, a little girl who still played with dolls at home.It’s so galling to think that the person who so maliciously and violently took Janet’s life has been

It’s so galling to think that the person who so maliciously and violently took Janet’s life has been living in our community for all these years, the difficulty for the family is that he has had a life, been married and had children, but he stole Janet’s future taking away the opportunity from Eileen and the rest of the family to see Janet grow, get married and have her own children

Today’s verdict cannot bring Janet back to us but hopefully in the weeks and months to come will provide us with some closure.I must express the thanks of the family to the prosecuting team and to North Wales Police, in

I must express the thanks of the family to the prosecuting team and to North Wales Police, in particular, Detective Superintendent Iestyn Davies the Senior Investigating officer who has ensured that Eileen and the family have been supported throughout this nightmare and without bias, followed the evidence, wherever it has led.

I would also like to thank the community of Flint for their continuing support at this time.

An NSPCC spokesman said:

Hough may have thought he’d evaded justice but the hard work of police has ensured his horrendous crimes have finally caught up with him.

Offending against children can have a devastating effect on generations of families and it is important that justice is served for victims – no matter how much time has passed.”

Any young person can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or childline.org.uk. Any adult can contact the NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000 ornspcc.org.uk.

Both are free, confidential, and open 24/7.

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