South East Wales

Lynette White: Law chief intervened in corruption case

Lynette White

The former director of public prosecutions intervened in the case of eight police officers involved in the 1988 Lynette White murder investigation, the High Court heard.

Kier Starmer ordered a review after an expert said there was "no real prospect" of corruption convictions.

The trial collapsed in 2011.

The eight cleared former officers are suing South Wales Police for misfeasance in public office and false imprisonment.

Senior Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer Gaon Hart told the court sitting in Cardiff he was brought in as a "fresh pair of eyes" to consider the evidence.

But his view that the case would fail led to him being shouted at by South Wales Police's senior investigating officer Chris Coutts.

Mr Hart told the hearing the officer was "furious".

There was disagreement, too, with senior counsel Nick Dean QC the barrister who led the prosecution which eventually collapsed.

The relationship deteriorated to such an extent the-then DPP Keir Starmer intervened to manage the disagreement.

He handed the decision to another CPS expert Simon Clements, head of the Serious Crime Division, who decided to carry on with the prosecution.

Mr Hart told the High Court that he felt the police had a "slightly zealous attitude that they clear the name of the force in some way".

Former officers Graham Mouncher, Thomas Page, Richard Powell, John Seaford, Michael Daniels, Peter Greenwood, Paul Jennings and Paul Stephen are suing South Wales Police.

The case is continuing.

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