27 Sep 2013

No Lynette White inquiry into South Wales police

Senior Home Affairs Correspondent

The Home Secretary has turned down requests for a public inquiry into the handling by South Wales police of the Lynette White murder case.

The Home Secretary has turned down requests for a public inquiry into the handling by South Wales police of the Lynette White murder case.

Theresa May has rejected demands to investigate further what lay behind the collapse of the country’s largest ever police corruption trials costing an estimated £30m.

Channel 4 News understands she has accepted the police force’s arguments that such an inquiry would take years to complete, cost millions of pounds and would be of little benefit to the public.

Lawyers for the Cardiff Three, those wrongly prosecuted or convicted of the 1988 murder of Lynette White, who was working as a prostitute, are to challenge the decision in the high court in November.

Matthew Gold, solicitor for one of the Cardiff Three, Stephen Miller, said “The decision flies in the face of logic and justice. The secretary of state has failed to consider a narrower inquiry that will involve less public expense. This is a serious omission.”

Processes and procedures

Two inquiries into why the corruption trial collapsed have blamed processes and procedures but not individuals.

One ordered by the director of public prosecutions has led to an overhaul of disclosure of evidence.

The IPCC report is particularly disappointing, and we still don’t know how their investigation was conducted. Kate Maynard, solicitor for two of the Cardiff Three

The other, by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, cleared all officers of misconduct over so-called “missing files” thought to have been destroyed but which were later found after the prosecution had abandoned the “corruption trial”.

Kate Maynard, acting for two others, said “The IPCC report is particularly disappointing, and we still don’t know how their investigation was conducted, including who was interviewed and/or questioned in the course of the investigation (if anyone) and what materials were considered.”

Unanswered questions

Sources say the home secretary accepts that some questions remain unanswered but sees no justification for a public inquiry.

The 14 former officers and others acquitted on charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice, have filed 398 complaints about the handling of the case.

A report into those complaints is expected to be handed over to South Wales Chief Constable Peter Vaughan in December. The home secretary says she may review her decision in the wake of that report.