South East Wales

Convict 'not involved' in Cardiff body in carpet killing

Karen Price Image copyright EPA
Image caption Karen Price was 15 when she went missing

A man who admitted killing a 15-year-old from Cardiff whose body was found wrapped in a carpet claims he only did so to get out of prison.

Idris Ali, 51, of Cardiff, and Alan Charlton, 56, from Somerset, have appealed against their convictions.

Charlton was jailed for life in 1991 for murdering Karen Price while Ali was freed in 1994 after his conviction was quashed and he admitted manslaughter.

The Court of Appeal heard on Tuesday he had no involvement in Karen's death.

Karen disappeared from a children's home in 1981 and her body was found wrapped in a carpet in a property on Fitzhamon Embankment in 1989.

Both men have had their cases referred to Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates potential miscarriages of justice.

The appeals are based on claims evidence from the key trial witness, known only as D, could not be relied upon.

Ali now says he only pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in order to get out of prison.

Image caption Idris Ali was released from prison in 1994

His lawyers have argued a medical expert believed Ali's "significant intellectual impairment" made him more likely to make things up and he was a "habitual liar".

William Hughes QC said: "He had been in prison for more than three-and-a-half years.

"It was four days before Christmas and he had a good inkling that, if he were to plead guilty, he would be released there and then."

The court also heard Ali's "history of telling lies" meant his admission of guilt should be treated with the "utmost care".

Image caption Charlton was convicted in 1991 at Cardiff Crown Court

After Ali admitted manslaughter in December 1994, he was released from prison, having served three years and nine months behind bars.

He pleaded guilty on the basis that evidence given by D was accurate; she said she was present when Charlton attacked Karen at his flat in Fitzhamon Embankment.

The court heard Ali admitted holding Karen's hands while Charlton beat her, but he said he only did so because he was afraid of Charlton and did not intend for her to suffer serious harm.

Charlton's lawyers claimed on Monday police officers involved in the investigation "put pressure" on key trial witnesses.

The hearing continues.

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