7 Sep 2011

Man wrongly jailed for murder weeps as police go on trial

A man wrongly jailed for the murder of a prostitute broke down today as he faced police on trial for causing his “nightmare” miscarriage of justice.

Lynette White, 20, of Cardiff, was stabbed more than 50 times in a savage attack on St Valentine’s Day 1988, in a squalid flat.

The prostitute’s violent killing triggered a major police murder hunt which, despite all efforts, had got nowhere after nine months.

Three weeks later the flagging inquiry was transformed and five men were charged with murder, a Swansea Crown Court jury has heard.

Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Tony Paris were tried and convicted of murder in 1990 in what became known as a notorious miscarriage of justice.

Two other men were cleared.

Within two years the “Cardiff three” were released after their convictions were quashed on appeal.

More than a decade later Jeffrey Gafoor, a client of Ms White, pleaded guilty to her brutal murder and is now serving a life sentence.

Police involved in the high profile murder hunt which culminated in the jailing of innocent men were later arrested themselves.

Mr Miller came face to face with eight now retired officers today and broke down as he recalled being interrogated by them.

They are alleged to have forced innocent witnesses to agree to fictional events over 20 days of intensive questioning.

Most senior among them are ex-superintendent Richard Powell, 58, and ex-chief inspectors Thomas Page, 62, and Graham Mouncher, 59.

They are accused of conspiring with Michael Daniels, 62, Paul Jennings, 51, Paul Stephen, 50, Peter Greenwood, 59 and John Seaford, 62, to pervert the course of justice.

Civilians Violet Perriam, 61, and Ian Massey, 57, together with Mouncher, are each accused of two counts of perjury.

The 10 defendants deny all charges.

Mr Miller, who gave evidence to the court via a video link, became emotional as he recalled being told of Ms White’s murder.

Mr Miller claims he was in a relationship with Ms White. He has denied ever being her pimp.

Speaking of her death, he said: “I was just gobsmacked. It was like I’d got a hammer and smashed it across my face.”

Nicholas Dean QC, prosecuting, also asked him to recall police questioning when he was suspected of being her murderer.

Breaking down he said: “Those guys put me through hell.”

Removing his glasses he wiped tears from his face and was unable to carry on immediately.

Later Mr Dean asked him to recall the officers who questioned him when he was charged with murder, nine months after the killing.

“I have been trying not too,” said a visibly upset Mr Miller.

“I have been dealing with this nightmare for 22 years and it is not easy. It is really really difficult.”

Mr Dean said: “I understand how you feel. You do remember them but you have been trying not to. Now, why is that?”

“Because of the attitude they had,” Mr Miller said.