Still, there was no match.
Then, in May 2015 – 31 years after the murder – cold case detectives began to reinvestigate the crime.
Again, they ran the killer’s DNA through the database – and this time they found something significant.
The sample was a very close familial match with another sample on file – that of a woman named Clare Hampton, 44.
Her DNA had been taken after she had an argument with her partner and broke his necklace.
Police interviewed Clare and she revealed that her father, Christopher Hampton, was from the area where Melanie had been killed.
She gave officers his phone number and they paid him a visit.
Hampton voluntarily provided them with a DNA sample.
The sample was sent to the lab to be tested and a month later, the results came back.
Christopher John Hampton was a match for the DNA found on Melanie’s body.
He was arrested and charged with her murder that day.
Appearing in court in May 2016, Hampton, 64, pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea on day one of the trial.
Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 22 years, Justice Popplewell said Hampton would very likely die in prison.
‘Only you know precisely how you approached her and carried out your attack, but certain things are plain from
the evidence,’ he said.
‘It was a lengthy and brutal attack for your own sexual gratification. She was repeatedly stabbed, 26 times in all.’
Hampton had been living with a girlfriend at the time of the murder, having split from his first wife with whom he had three children – including Clare.
Five years after Melanie’s murder, he had married his second wife, had another daughter, and moved to another city where he kept to himself, working as a painter and decorator.
Melanie’s mum Jean, sister Karen and brother Adrian, were all in court to see Hampton admit to the killing, which they said had haunted their lives for the past 32 years.
Suffering with dementia that the family said was hastened by losing his daughter, Melanie’s dad Anthony was too unwell
In her victim impact statement, Melanie’s sister Karen said, ‘I have had 32 years to fill in the gaps. Melanie has died hundreds of times in hundreds of different ways in my mind, when I am awake, when I am asleep.
‘I could tell you it is like being in a nightmare but you wake from a nightmare and life returns to normal. This is a nightmare you can’t wake up from. Melanie’s death has consumed my life.
‘For 32 years I have felt as if I am living in a horror film.’
Jean told a local newspaper she had not expected to live to see her daughter Melanie’s murderer brought to justice.
In her statement made in 2016, Jean said, ‘When will the pain stop? The horror of that sunny day in June will never leave us.
‘I was 49 years old in 1984 when all this happened.
‘Now in my 81st year I pray that the family will find some peace.’ ●