CONVICTED killer David Hodgson was last night urged to reveal where he hid the body of his teenage victim after failing in a bid to clear his name.

Appeal Court judges ruled there was “compelling” evidence the 49-year-old murdered shopworker Jenny Nicholl in June 2005.

The father-of-two must now serve the remainder of his life sentence in prison.

Dismissing Hodgson’s appeal against his conviction, Lady Justice Hallett sympathised with Jenny’s friends and family, who still do not know what happened to the 19-year-old, from Richmond, North Yorkshire.

During his trial at Teesside Crown Court in February last year, Hodgson said Jenny had run away to escape her father, who he alleged abused her.

But Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with Mr Justice Wyn Williams and Mr Justice Holroyde, told the London court: “This means he stands convicted not only of killing a lovely young girl with everything to live for, but also of trying to put the blame for her disappearance on her grieving father and mother.”

Jenny disappeared on June 30, 2005, after telling her mother, Ann Nicholl, she would not be back that night.

The trial was told that Hodgson, who was having an affair with the teenager, probably killed Jenny later that night.

The prosecution argued that text messages sent from Jenny’s mobile phone several weeks after her disappearance were most likely the work of Hodgson and were intended to put police off the scent. However, his legal team said the text messages supported their claim that Jenny was still alive.

At yesterday’s hearing, Jamie Hill QC, for Hodgson, presented new evidence from forensic linguist, John Olssen, who analysed the crucial text messages. However, Lady Justice Hallett said the new evidence did nothing to boost the defence’s case.

She said the evidence would have made no difference to the outcome of the trial, since the new witness was in broad agreement with the prosecution’s expert witness.

In any case, the Crown’s witness had given “heavily qualified”

testimony about the authorship of the “suspect” texts, declining to categorically identify Hodgson as the writer, she said. The judge said the evidence suggested that Jenny was a “normal, high-spirited teenager” with no motive to leave her family and home.

There was no clear reason for her leaving Richmond, said the judge, adding that most of her possessions were left behind, including her prized car and beloved dog.

Her bank account was also untouched. Some of her possessions – including a teddy bear and cassette recorder – were found in nearby woods also frequented by Hodgson, who used to take her camping.

It was “more than a coincidence”

that Hodgson and Jenny had “camped out” on the night of her disappearance, said the judge.

She also noted that there was evidence that the relationship between the two had become increasingly stormy.

She said the killer had grown “over-possessive” and prone to “manhandling” her.

Following the ruling, Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross said that she was always satisfied that the inquiry was conducted in a “highly professional, robust and detailed manner”.

She said: “I just hope he will now finally admit his guilt and be man enough to reveal where he has hidden Jenny’s body.”