No5’s Mark Heywood QC prosecutes in Janet Commins murder case

Mark Heywood QC is acting as prosecutor for the case of Stephen Hough, 58, who is on trial for the murder, rape and buggery of Janet Commins, 15, in 1978.

Noel Jones, then 18, served six years of a twelve-year jail sentence after confessing to the manslaughter of Janet.  However, Jones claims that he was always innocent but confessed to the murder due to police pressure.

Hough, then 17, was questioned during the original investigation but told police he was stealing petrol from a vehicle at the time. He appeared in court and was charged with theft at a later date.

In 2016, Hough’s DNA was taken by police for an unrelated matter but it matched a DNA sample that police had taken from Janet’s body in 2006 during a scientific evidence review.

‘Mr Heywood said in court: “He [Jones] never challenged the circumstances of his conviction, but he asserts that he always knew that he was innocent and he only confessed due to the pressure that he felt placed upon him at the time.

“The prosecution say that when you have considered all the evidence in this case, there is support for Jones’s claim that he was not Janet’s killer and, in all the circumstances, you can be sure that Stephen Hough was.”

The trial continues.