Wales

Lynette White: Woman tells jury of 'piercing' scream

Former police officers - top row Mr Daniels, Mr Greenwood, Mr Jennings and Mr Mouncher - bottom row Mr Page, Mr Powell, Mr Seaford and Mr Stephen
Image caption Eight former South Wales Police officers deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

A woman has told a jury how she heard the "piercing sound" of screams on the night a prostitute was murdered in Cardiff in 1988.

Lynette White was found in her flat on Valentine's Day, stabbed 50 times.

Three men, including her pimp, were wrongly convicted of the murder, but one of Ms White's clients later admitted the killing in 2003.

Eight ex-police officers deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice at Swansea Crown Court.

Two other people deny perjury.

The three men wrongfully jailed in 1990 were released in 1992 by the Court of Appeal.

A re-examination of the case centred on how police officers obtained their convictions.

On the first day of live evidence, the jury heard how it is believed Ms White, 20, was murdered in the early hours of 14 February 1988.

'Frightening'

Two women told the court how they heard screams at between 0130 GMT and 0200 GMT.

Sylvia Leyshon, who lived nearby, said it lasted for five minutes, but added it was not unusual to hear screaming as people left nightclubs in the area.

Nellie Heath, who was staying with a cousin nearby, said she was woken "by a piercing sound of a woman screaming three times".

She added: "It was frightening. It did not sound like someone fooling around."

The court also heard how Ms White had not been seen for five days before she was found dead in the Butetown flat.

She was discovered by police who had an arrest warrant to ensure she gave evidence at a trial listed for the following day, and who had expected to take her into custody.

'Massive injuries'

PC Anthony Prosser, now retired, said he and a colleague drove to James Street hoping to arrest Ms White.

"We had been looking for her all weekend," he added.

He said he kicked in the door to the flat and found Ms White lying on her back in her bedroom with "massive injuries".

He added: "There was nothing we could do to assist her."

Three of the men charged are retired senior police officers - Chief Insp Thomas Page, Chief Insp Graham Mouncher and Supt Richard Powell.

The five other retired police officers are Michael Daniels, Peter Greenwood and John Seaford, while Paul Jennings and Paul Stephen were serving officers at the time of arrest.

They are all jointly accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, which they deny.

Violet Perriam and Ian Massey, with Mr Mouncher, are also each accused of two counts of perjury, which they deny.

The trial continues.