No5’s Mark Heywood QC prosecutes 1976 rape and murder

A former soldier was last week found guilty of raping and killing 15-year-old Janet Commins in 1976 and has been sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Stephen Hough, 58, pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of a girl last year and has been sentenced to an additional three years, taking his total sentence to 15 years.

Mark Heywood QC of No5 Barristers’ Chambers led the prosecution against Hough, who was on trial at Mold Crown Court accused of murdering the schoolgirl in Flint 41 years ago.

A jury in the 13-day trial took less than six hours to reach unanimous verdicts on counts of manslaughter, rape and serious sexual assault. He was found not guilty of murder.

Janet’s body was found on a school field by children playing hide and seek. Hough was 16 at the time of the rape and killing.

Mark Heywood said in court that Janet died as a result of her neck and external airway being compressed and blocked during the sexual assault.

Mark Heywood QC is a member of the Crime group at No5.