DNA testing has helped police solve a murder committed 32 years ago after they traced the killer through his daughter.

When 17-year-old Melanie Road was stabbed to death and sexually assaulted in Bath in 1984, officers searching for her killer drew a blank. They took samples from the crime scene and found the killer had a blood type which matched just three per cent of the UK population.

But advances in DNA technology allowed police to create a genetic profile of Melanie’s killer in 1995. Once this profile was created, detectives searched the national database for a match but none was found.

In 2000, they were able to create an even more detailed genetic profile but again no matches were found. To increase their chances of finding the murderer, the police then started to look for people with similar DNA profiles who could be biologically related to the perpetrator.

After years of searching, police finally found a match when 44-year-old Clare Hampton was given a caution for criminal damage after a row with her boyfriend. She was given a routine swab test and her DNA was entered onto the database in 2014.

Database led detectives to suspect

The cold case detectives working on Melanie’s murder checked the DNA database again in 2015 and discovered striking similarities between Clare’s DNA and that of the killer. When they contacted her, she put them in touch with her father, Christopher Hampton, and he gave them a DNA sample which matched evidence found on Melanie’s body.

After initially denying the crime, Hampton admitted murder on the first day of his trial and was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in jail.

DNA is found in almost all living cells, including hair, blood and saliva. An individual’s DNA is made up of information which has been passed down from their parents with half coming from their mother and the other half coming from their father.

This information provides a map of genetic characteristics and dictates how a person looks and behaves. When two people are biologically related, they share some DNA and tests can be used to determine whether they are members of the same family.

Paternity testing is often used to find out whether a man is a child’s biological father. But other types of DNA tests are available, including maternity and sibling tests.