May ‘to order police trial probe’

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Published: Tuesday 10th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The Home Secretary is set to order a QC-led inquiry into the collapse of the UK’s biggest police corruption trial.

The QC will examine the trial related to the investigation into the 1988 murder of Lynette White, the lawyer for one of three men wrongfully convicted of the killing said.

Eight former South Wales Police officers were accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice but were cleared, along with two civilians, after their trial was dramatically halted in December 2011.

Miss White, a 20-year-old working as a prostitute, was stabbed multiple times in a flat in Cardiff on Valentine’s Day 1988.

In November 1990 Stephen Miller, Tony Paris and Yusef Abdullahi were all convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment but w ithin two years the trio, known as the ”Cardiff Three”, were released after the Court of Appeal quashed their convictions.

Mr Miller’s solicitor Matthew Gold said Theresa May had agreed an inquiry led by a QC would investigate how the multimillion pound trial of the South Wales Police officers collapsed.

The Home Office did not confirm that a QC-led inquiry would be launched but said there were “unresolved questions” surrounding the miscarriage of justice that led to the three innocent men being jailed and said Mrs May would make an announcement in relation to the case shortly.

Major administration errors contributed to the collapse of the trial of the former police officers at Swansea Crown Court in 2011.

The trial was told that crucial documents had been ordered to be destroyed – only to be found intact within weeks of the collapse of the court case.

Mr Gold said the new investigation will be led by Richard Horwell QC and will start next month.

He said he hoped the investigation will look at the “disclosure issues” surrounding the availability of evidence in the trial. “Specifically,” he said, “why it appears that instructions were given by officers involved in the case to destroy the four files when in fact they weren’t destroyed, they were found”.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “There are still unresolved questions surrounding the reasons why no one was found responsible for this appalling miscarriage of justice.

“It is important for public trust in policing and the wider criminal justice system, as well as the men who were wrongly imprisoned, that these questions are answered.

“The Home Secretary is currently considering options and will make an announcement shortly.”

The former officers acquitted following the collapse of the trial in 2011 were ex-superintendent Richard Powell and ex-chief inspectors Thomas Page and Graham Mouncher.

They were accused of conspiring with Michael Daniels, Paul Jennings, Paul Stephen, Peter Greenwood, and John Seaford, to pervert the course of justice.

Civilians Violet Perriam and Ian Massey together with Mouncher, were each cleared of two counts of perjury.

The mystery of Miss White’s murder was solved after advances in DNA techniques, combined with evidence preserved from the murder scene, led police to new suspect Jeffrey Gafoor, who admitted the crime and was jailed for life in 2003.

Published: Tuesday 10th February 2015 by The News Editor

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