Police watchdog launch investigation into handling of Flint schoolgirl murder in 1976
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched an inquiry into how North Wales Police (NWP) handled the murder and rape of Flint schoolgirl Janet Commins 40 years ago.
NWP voluntarily referred the matter after further information came to light prompting a review of the circumstances surrounding the initial investigation.
The new information connected another man to the rape and murder of 15-year-old Janet Commins, of Flint in January 1976. Stephen Hough was charged with the offences by NWP in September last year.
The IPCC is investigating whether North Wales Police officers in the initial 1976 investigation acted in accordance with the rules in place at the time relating to their detention and interviewing of suspects, as well as how the force handled new information that came to light in 2006.
IPCC investigators have gathered relevant documentation from the force, and met with Janet’s family to explain our role.
IPCC Commissioner for Wales, Jan Williams, said:
“This will be a complex investigation not least because of the passage of time, but it is important for all concerned that we independently investigate the case.”
In June 1976, a man was jailed for 12 years for the manslaughter of Janet Commins.
At the time of Hough’s arrest Senior Investigating Officer Det Supt Iestyn Davies of North Wales Police said:
“There have been significant developments to assist police investigations of this nature in the past 40 years and significant changes in the way we approach murder investigations.
“This man has not previously been arrested in connection with the 1976 investigation.
“A dedicated team of officers have been working on this investigation and as a result further evidence has come to light which has caused us to review all the circumstances surrounding the initial investigation.
Consequently a referral has been made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”
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