Man pleads guilty to 1984 murder of 17-year-old Melanie Road

Melanie Road murder: Family statement

A 64-year-old man has admitted murdering a teenage girl who was stabbed to death 32 years ago.

Christopher Hampton pleaded guilty to murdering Melanie Road, 17, during the early hours of June 9 1984.

Melanie, described as bright and outgoing by her family, was sexually assaulted and died from multiple stab wounds to her chest and back.

The teenager had decided to walk the 15 to 20-minute journey home following a night out with friends in Bath, Somerset.

Her body was discovered at 5.30am by a milkman and his 10-year-old son, close to a block of garages a short distance from her home.

Father-of-three Hampton, of Staple Hill Road, Fishponds, Bristol, had been due to stand trial at Bristol Crown Court on Monday after originally denying the charge.

He was caught in 2015 after police matched DNA from Melanie's clothing to a member of Hampton's family on the national database.

He will be sentenced shortly.

Members of Melanie's family, including her 81-year-old mother Jean, sat in the public gallery of court room one to hear Hampton admit his guilt.

Grey-haired Hampton, wearing glasses and a black suit and shirt, stood up and clearly replied "Guilty" as the murder charge was put to him.

Detectives arrested Hampton on suspicion of murdering Melanie in July last year, and he was subsequently charged with the offence.

Two years ago, Avon and Somerset Police began DNA testing hundreds of men who had been in the city at the time of Melanie's death.

She had gone out for the evening on June 8 1984 with her boyfriend and friends to the Beau Nash, a nightclub in Kingston Parade. She left the club at 1.30am on June 9 and was last seen alive by her friends a short time later in Broad Street.

Kate Brunner QC told the court a milkman found Melanie's body lying in a pool of blood in St Stephen's Court, just 200 meters from her home.

"She had been repeatedly stabbed, 26 times in all, with a sharp-edged knife," Ms Brunner said.

"Melanie Road died from haemorrhaging as a result of those stab wounds.

"It is plain that the defendant inflicted a lengthy and brutal attack on Melanie Road for his own sexual gratification."

Hampton stabbed Melanie while she was dressed, leaving cuts in her clothing matching the location of injuries, before removing her trousers and underwear.

He subjected her to a "vicious and sustained" sexual assault then partially redressed her, possibly after she had died, Ms Brunner said.

Later that morning Melanie's parents, Jean and Anthony realised she had not returned home.

They then heard police calling Melanie's name, as a keyring with the word Melanie had been found by her body.

"They identified their daughter's body later that afternoon," Ms Brunner said.