South East Wales

Lynette White killer Jeffrey Gafoor 'changed accounts'

Lynette White
Image caption Lynette White was murdered in her Cardiff flat in February 1988

The man who killed Lynette White would not allow lawyers time to investigate defences he might have had, the barrister who represented him has said.

Jeffrey Gafoor also refused to allow a psychiatrist to assess whether he could plead not guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Three men were wrongly convicted of the 1988 Cardiff murder before being freed.

Eight ex-police officers deny perverting the course of justice at Swansea Crown Court.

John Charles Rees QC, the barrister who represented Gafoor in 2003, told the jury: "He was keen to plead guilty as quickly as possible."

By then the Cardiff Five had spent two years in jail awaiting trial for a murder they had not been involved in.

Three of them spent a further two years in prison after being found guilty. The convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1992.

Eight former police officers who helped to prepare the case against them deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Rees told Swansea crown court that Gafoor never provided an adequate account of how or why he stabbed Miss White to death in a flat at James Street, Cardiff, in the early hours of 14 February, 1988.

He said he advised Gafoor several times to plead not guilty, and did so again on the morning he was due before a judge at Cardiff crown court.

But Gafoor would not listen and pleaded guilty. He was jailed for life and is serving his sentence at Wakefield prison.

Mr Rees told the jury the accounts Gafoor had given kept on changing.

He told his lawyers he had met Miss White in the Custom House pub, but later said it had been in the Packet and then the Ship and Pilot.

'Secretive'

Sometimes he said he had never met Miss White before the night she was stabbed to death, the court heard.

At one stage he said he had stabbed her with his own, ornamental knife and then it had been a kitchen knife he had taken off Miss White.

Gafoor even said the stabbing began accidentally and that he panicked and killed her to stop her from going to the police.

"We made repeated attempts to get to the detail and to reconcile his accounts with the known facts," added Mr Rees.

"His explanations were not full, to say the least. He was quite secretive.

"We never got the detail we wanted. He had a blase attitude to the case."

Gafoor, he said, maintained he had stabbed her 10 to 12 times, and said he was surprised to be told she had suffered more than 50 wounds.

And he had not even mentioned until prompted, the day before he pleaded guilty, the massive throat wound that had finally killed Miss White.

The trial continues.

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