IPCC details Lynette White inquiry area

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

A police watchdog has detailed its terms of reference for investigating events surrounding the alleged destruction of documents referred to in a police corruption trial.

Eight ex-officers were cleared in December at Swansea Crown Court.

The case related to the original inquiry into the 1988 murder of Lynette White in Cardiff.

The court was told four files had been destroyed but they were later discovered in the possession of police.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had updated the terms of reference of its investigation to reflect the discovery.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has already ordered a review into the collapse of the case.

The IPCC's investigation will focus on the events surround the alleged destruction of the documents and how they were later found.

The IPCC investigation said its investigation will be looking:

  • To establish the date that each of the four specific copy files of documents came into the possession of the disclosure team on the Lynette White III investigation.
  • To establish what disclosure process each of the four specific copy files of documents was subjected to by any police officer or police staff member and any recording process used to detail that disclosure process.
  • To establish if any decision was made to destroy any of those files of documents by any police officer or police staff member and if so whether any police officer or police staff member properly recorded the reasoning and rationale for such a decision.
  • To establish the movements and location of the four specific copy files of documents from the time they originally came into the possession of the investigation until their discovery on 17 January 2012, still in the possession of South Wales Police.

Five months into the trial a judge ruled that the police officers could not get a fair trial because evidence was believed lost.

Focused investigation

Prosecution counsel had told the court the files had been destroyed but they were later found still in the possession of South Wales Police.

IPCC commissioner Sarah Green said: "The terms of reference for our independent investigation have been updated to reflect the discovery of the documents that the Lynette White trial was told had been destroyed.

"This is a very tightly focused investigation that concentrates on events regarding the alleged destruction of IPCC documents that were referred to in Swansea Crown Court.

"We are not investigating the reasons for the collapse of the trial, which is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

"I will ensure that the IPCC investigation findings are published in full at the conclusion of our investigation."

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, a prostitute, and freed in 1992 after their convictions were quashed.

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.

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