In the oldest double jeopardy case in England and Wales, a man has been sentenced to life in prison for raping and murdering a girl nearly 50 years ago.
Dennis McGrory, 75, was 28 years old when he sexually assaulted, stabbed, and strangled Jacqui Montgomery, a 15-year-old girl, in Islington, north London, in 1975.
In 1976, he was tried on circumstantial evidence but was acquitted of murder.
McGrory was tried a second time after DNA swabs from Ms Montgomery’s body revealed a one-in-a-billion match to him.
On June 2, 1975, her father, Robert Montgomery, discovered her body in their living room on Offord Road.
She’d received fatal stab wounds and blunt-force trauma to her face, as well as being strangled with an iron flex.
McGrory was brought before the courts again on the basis of the DNA evidence against him because of a change in the law regarding double jeopardy 20 years ago – the principle that no one can be tried twice for the same crime.
He was found guilty of the rape and murder of the teenager at the Old Bailey last month and sentenced earlier on Friday at Huntingdon Crown Court.
McGrory’s trial was suspended in March after the defendant, from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, became ill.
During the trial, the court was told McGrory had been “wild with rage” when he killed the teenager as he tried to track down his ex-partner Josie Montgomery, who was the victim’s aunt.
McGrory had threatened to rape Jacqui in the past and, on that night, he “made good” on those words, jurors were told.
During the attack he also ripped out a page of the teenager’s diary with her aunt’s address on it.
‘Violent and sustained ordeal’
Sentencing McGrory to a minimum term of 25 years and 126 days, Mr Justice Bryan told the killer: “I have no doubt whatsoever that you intended to kill her in your brutal attack on her.
“You put Jacqui through a horrific, violent and sustained ordeal in her own home – a place where she was entitled to feel safe.
“In the decades that followed, you must have thought you had gotten away with your hideous crimes.
“How any man could inflict such sexual violence on a 15-year-old child that had done them no harm beggars belief.”
Kathy Montgomery, Jacqui’s sister, expressed relief outside court.
“She suffered, that girl… she didn’t deserve what she got, but he deserved what he got right now,” she said.
Asked how she felt about McGrory being out of prison for decades, Ms Montgomery said: “Soul-destroying. Knowing I couldn’t get close to him was soul-destroying.
“We’d all known he’d done it since day one.”