Lynette White police corruption trial: Documents found as DPP orders review

Lynette White was murdered in a flat in Cardiff's docklands in February 1988

Related Stories

Documents have been found after they were thought to have been destroyed, which had led to the collapse of the UK's biggest police corruption trial.

The announcement came as it emerged that a review has been ordered into the end of the trial of eight officers, who were all cleared in December.

They were involved in the original investigation of the 1988 murder of Cardiff prostitute Lynette White.

The review has been ordered by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer.

The officers were acquitted of perverting the course of justice. A judge at Swansea Crown Court ruled that they could not get a fair trial because evidence was believed lost.

But it has now been announced that the information has been found.

Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) will review the case which had cost up to an estimated £30m.

IPCC STATEMENT

Commissioner Sarah Green said: "The Independent Police Complaints Commission has now verified that the documents that the Lynette White trial at Swansea Crown Court on December 1 2011 was told may have been destroyed have been discovered and were not shredded as first thought.

"The court was told that some inquiries had been made about documents relating to complaints made to the IPCC itself and that it seemed that these documents may have been shredded on the orders of SWP (South Wales Police) senior investigating officer Chris Coutts.

"The documents were found in the original boxes that the IPCC had sent those files to South Wales Police as part of the trial disclosure process in 2009.

"These boxes were still in the possession of SWP and have subsequently been verified.

"The IPCC investigation has not yet concluded and will also need to establish what happened to these two files of documents.

The IPCC will also continue to liaise with the review being carried out by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

"We have of course informed the Director of Public Prosecutions about the discovery of these documents.

"The IPCC will of course publish its findings in due course."

It had been alleged that the former South Wales Police officers had manufactured the case against five men after the murder at a flat in Cardiff's docklands - three of whom were jailed for life before being released on appeal.

The retired officers all pleaded not guilty to the charge and were cleared after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered no evidence against the defendants, halting the five-month trial.

It emerged that files relating to complaints by an original defendant had been destroyed - which would undermine the defence's confidence in the disclosure process.

But now it has been revealed that the information has been found, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which is conducting its own inquiry after being called in by South Wales Police.

It says the documents have been found still in the possession of South Wales Police and, as part of its inquiry, it needs to establish what happened to them.

A CPS spokesperson said: "While this is clearly a significant discovery, it is for the IPCC to determine the circumstances and conclude their investigation as swiftly as possible."

Alun Michael, MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, said the review by HMCPSI "must leave no stone unturned".

"We need to know why things went wrong, why so much money was spent on the investigation and then it wasn't carried through," he said.

Jeffrey Gafoor Jeffrey Gafoor was eventually jailed for life in 2003 for Lynette White's murder

Mr Starmer said he had asked HMCPSI to carry out the review of the management of the prosecution in the perjury trial.

"It is important that the public can have confidence in the way the CPS conducts its cases and the Inspectorate will examine the issues with the utmost thoroughness," he said.

"Inevitably this will take time but will be completed as soon as is practicable and a report prepared for the DPP.

"South Wales Police has decided to refer their part in this matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and we will work in tandem with the IPCC inquiry into what happened.

"Both organisations are committed to sharing all relevant information with each other and arrangements are being made to ensure there is meaningful liaison between the two inquiries."

Security guard

Tony Paris, Yusef Abdullahi and Stephen Miller - who became known as the Cardiff Three - were wrongly jailed for life in 1990 for the murder of Miss White.

They were freed in 1992 after their convictions were quashed.

The case was reopened in September 2000 when new evidence was brought to light. Advances in DNA led to the arrest of security guard Jeffrey Gafoor who in July 2003 was jailed for life for the murder.

In 2004, the IPCC began an inquiry to establish what went wrong with the original investigation into the murder.

A year later former police officers were arrested and questioned on suspicion of false imprisonment, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public office.

Former officers Graham Mouncher, Thomas Page, Richard Powell, John Seaford, Michael Daniels, Peter Greenwood, Paul Jennings, Paul Stephen have now all been acquitted.

Civilians Violet Perriam and Ian Massey also denied two counts of perjury and were also cleared.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.