Guilty verdict in Jenny Nicholl murder trial

A MIDDLE-AGED father of two has been found guilty of murdering North Yorkshire teenager Jenny Nicholl.

David Hodgson, of Olav Road, Richmond, had an affair with the 19 year-old who went missing from her home in the town in June 2005. Her body has never been found.

A jury at Teesside Crown Court today found the 48-year-old guilty of her murder.

Hodgson will be sentenced on Thursday and was remanded into custody.

The prosecution had claimed Hodgson was motivated by jealousy to kill his teenage lover after she became friends with Robert Hodgson, his brother, who had been unaware of their relationship, and then covered his tracks with a web of lies.

Giving evidence during his trial, Hodgson claimed to have spoken with Jenny on the telephone following her disappearance. He also told the jury two notes purporting to be from the teenager, but not in her handwriting, were left for him at locations where they would exchange messages.

During cross-examination, he admitted he had never told police about the phone calls.

Hodgson had first been interviewed as a possible witness to her disappearance on July 8.

The following day Jenny's mobile phone – which had been silent since she went missing – was turned back on and text messages supposedly from the teenager were sent to friends suggesting she was still alive.

One read: "Everyone's going to be mad. Tell them I'm sorry. Living in Scotland with my boyfriend. Dad's going to kill me. Tell him I'm sorry."

The source of transmission was traced to a phone mast in Cumbria. Then, five days later, the phone was switched on again and a text transmitted from Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders to Jenny's father Brian.

The prosecution claimed there were similarities with the way Hodgson composed his own texts, and he'd known enough about her background to fake them.

Full background in Wednesday's Yorkshire Post.