South East Wales

Lynette White case: Witness changes mind

Lynette White
Image caption Lynette White had been stabbed more than 50 times

A witness in the Lynette White police corruption trial has changed his mind about the behaviour of a police officer in the original murder inquiry.

Mark Grommek told Swansea Crown Court he could no longer say it was Det Insp Graham Mouncher who had been abusive while questioning him.

Three men - the Cardiff Three - were convicted of murder but later cleared.

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

Ms White, 20, was found stabbed at her flat in Butetown, Cardiff, in 1988.

Three men were originally falsely imprisoned for the murder.

Jeffrey Gafoor, who was never involved in the 1988 investigation, was identified as the real killer and sent to prison for life.

The latest trial follows a new investigation into how the Cardiff Three - Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Tony Paris - were prosecuted in 1990 for her death.

They were released by the Court of Appeal two years later, although Mr Abdullahi has since died.

Eight former police officers have been accused of manufacturing a case against the three innocent men.

On Monday Mr Grommek said pressure had been applied by the then Det Insp Graham Mouncher, who shouted at him, banged on a table and threw a chair across the room.

But under cross examination on Tuesday by Mr Mouncher's barrister, William Coker QC, Mr Grommek said he had made his untruthful statement in November 1988 - but had not seen Mr Mouncher after about May or June of that year.

Mr Grommek maintained he was "pretty sure" that Mr Mouncher had called him names because of his homosexuality and had insisted that he was "holding back" and must have seen or heard something.

Regret

But the witness said he could no longer say that it was Mr Mouncher who had "thrown a table and a chair around the room" inside Butetown police station, Cardiff.

Nor could he remember Mr Mouncher being present on 22 November when he changed his story and "gave the police what they wanted to hear", the jury was told.

His original account had been that he had been asleep in Flat 2, 7 James Street, Cardiff, when Miss White was stabbed 50 times in Flat 1 immediately below.

But during an interview on 22 November an officer noted him as saying that about 1.30am on February 14 he had answered the doorbell to a group of three of four people.

He named one as Yusef Abdullahi, who would go on to be wrongfully jailed for the murder of Miss White.

He also named Ronnie Actie as being there. He too stood trial for murder but was found not guilty.

Mr Grommek claimed that police officers had given him the names.

He said the interview, conducted by Dc John Seaford and another officer, consisted of the officers saying what had happened and Mr Grommek agreeing.

The account was then written down as if he had given it, he said.

"None of it was true but I broke down and told them what they wanted to hear," he added.

"It is the worst thing I have ever done," he added.

Eight former officers, including Mr Mouncher and Mr Seaford, involved in the 1988 murder investigation are accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Mouncher, and two people who gave evidence, are also charged with perjury.

They have all pleaded not guilty. The trial continues.

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