Mr Jones made an admission to his girlfriend that he was responsible for the murder of Janet Commins. He made two statements under caution. In one he said he raped the victim alone and during the struggle she died. In the other, (prompted by an officer who challenged his account in light of the fact moving the body to where it was found would have been difficult alone) he claimed that a friend had been with him and had raped the victim after he had. Relatively limited forensic evidence was also admitted to suggest he was guilty (this evidence was referred to by the Court of Appeal as “crude” by modern standards). Mr Jones was accused of murder, and pleaded guilty to manslaughter. On the direction of the trial judge, the jury returned verdicts of guilty to manslaughter and not to murder, and he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. He did not appeal and served his sentence.
On appeal, DNA analyses confirmed that DNA on the victim emanated from a single source, which was not Mr Jones, but which did match Stephen Hough (who had been arrested on suspicion of another rape).
Mr Jones was called as a witness in the trial of Stephen Hough. He stated that he was not guilty and had confessed due to the pressure he felt at the time (he was interviewed appropriately, but was vulnerable and illiterate).
Following Hough’s conviction, Mr Jones’ conviction was quashed. Following his conviction being quashed, Mr Jones stated:
“Confirmation for everyone to hear that my conviction for these horrible crimes is no more, together with the knowledge that the person who did end Janet’s life is in prison, is a great comfort.”
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- Offence: Manslaughter / non-fatal offence against the person
- Jurisdiction: England & Wales
- County: Clwyd
- Ethnicity: White
- Gender: M
- Years in prison: 6
- Offence convicted of: Manslaughter
- Year of crime: 1976
- Year of initial conviction: 1976
- Year conviction was overturned: 2019
- Affirmative evidence of innocence: Y
- CCRC Referral: N
- Post Office Case: N
- Type of fresh evidence at appeal: DNA evidence
- Crown argued case at CofA: N
- Retrial: N