Flint man charged on suspicion of historic murder

Flint man charged on suspicion of historic murder and rape of teenage schoolgirl Janet Commins 40 years ago

Stephen Anthony Hough, 57, from Flint, was arrested in Essex on
Monday in connection with the murder of 15-year-old Janet Commins on
January 7, 1976, in Flint.

He is also charged with two further sexual offences relating to a
separate and unconnected enquiry following allegations earlier this year
and will appear before Llandudno magistrates today.

A man has previously been imprisoned for manslaughter after admitting responsibility for the death.

Senior investigating officer Det Supt Iestyn Davies of North Wales
Police said: “There has 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.

“Janet’s family is being supported by specialist officers.”

In a statement, Janet’s mother Eileen Commins said yesterday: “I have
been aware since May of this year that North Wales Police have been
reinvestigating the murder of my daughter in 1976.

“I have today been informed that a local man, who had not previously been suspected, has been charged with her murder and rape.

“This has come as a great shock to me and my family and I’d ask that
our privacy as a family be respected. No further statement will be
forthcoming at this stage.”

According to details reported in the Evening Leader back in January
1976, Janet’s body was found dumped in bushes near Gwynedd Primary
School playing field, just a few yards from her home on King Edward
Drive, Flint. A post-mortem examination revealed she had been sexually
assaulted and suffocated.

Police conducted house-to-house enquiries in the aftermath of Janet’s
death, interviewing more than 1,000 pupils at Flint High School which
the 15-year-old had attended.

Officers investigating the murder believed she left home on January 7
at 7pm and left a note telling her mother she would be home for 8.30pm.

Janet was thought to have walked to Flint Sports Centre where she
left at 8pm before calling at a neighbour’s house between 8.15pm and
8.30pm.

It was reported that the next time she was seen was 9.30pm on Albert Avenue.

A £250 reward was offered by the Evening Leader for information relating to Janet’s murder later that month.

Janet’s funeral was held on February 2, 1976, and her parents Ted and
Eileen told reporters they would never be able to forgive the person
responsible, saying their “whole world had been shattered”.

Mr Commins died aged 79 in September, 2014.

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