South East Wales

Lynette White police 'turned on' taxi driver

Eight former police officers who deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
Image caption Eight former police officers deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

A former taxi driver has told the Lynette White police corruption trial detectives "turned on him" as the investigation into her murder stalled.

Jack Ellis made statements to officers that he knew the Cardiff prostitute and her friends but he said police started to make accusations about him.

She was killed in 1988 and three men were wrongly jailed for her murder.

Eight ex-police officers deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Two other people deny perjury.

Giving evidence at Swansea Crown Court, Mr Ellis said he had made five statements to South Wales Police and during the interviews the officers had been "fine".

But he said then came a "particularly bad one."

He said he had worked a night shift and returned home when two hours later police knocked on his door and told his wife Diane that he had to go with them to Butetown police station.

He said at the station he was left in an upstairs room and could hear a man crying.

"It lasted quite a time, five to 10 minutes," said Mr Ellis.

"Brow beaten"

Two officers entered the room and began asking him questions and then two more came in.

"They were really aggressive, making insinuations and accusations about me," he told the court.

Mr Ellis said he had co-operated fully during the first five interviews and had told police all he knew about Miss White, the people she associated with and the fact that he had last seen her about a week before she was murdered.

"But they were adamant I could tell them more," he said.

"I was brow beaten. In the end all four were acting like that. The next question was coming before I could answer the previous one.

"It just got too much. They said I was no better than the scum I picked up."

Mr Ellis said he was accused of being a drug dealer.

"I was very scared. The interrogation was like something out of an American film."

Mr Ellis said he was held for 12 hours before being released.

Image caption Lynette White had been stabbed more than 50 times

Miss White was found dead with more than 50 stab wounds on 14 February 1988 in an upstairs flat above a betting shop in Cardiff's docklands.

Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi - who has since died - and Tony Paris were convicted in 1990 of the murder but released by the Court of Appeal two years later.

In 2003 advances in DNA led police to Jeffrey Gafoor, now 46, who admitted murder and was jailed for life.

A new investigation was held into how the Cardiff Three - as the men came to be known - were prosecuted in the first place.

Eight officers involved in the 1988 probe are accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

One of them and two people who gave evidence are also charged with perjury.

They have all pleaded not guilty and the trial continues.

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