South East Wales

Lynette White case: Cleared Thomas Page urges inquiry

Thomas Page (l) and his barrister Gregory Bull, QC Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Thomas Page (l), with Geoffrey Bull QC, criticised the prosecution's tactics

One of the former police officers cleared in the Lynette White corruption case has called for an inquiry into why he and the other defendants were subjected to the lengthy investigation.

Former Chief Insp Thomas Page said this should not be conducted by South Wales Police.

But Matthew Gold, solicitor for Stephen Miller, who was wrongly convicted of the murder, was "shocked".

He added: "It was a very sad day for the criminal process."

After the trial collapsed, Mr Gold said: "On behalf of my client Stephen Miller and myself, we are shocked and very concerned that the trial against Mouncher and the other officers has been stopped today because of irregularities in the criminal disclosure process.

He said his client had served four years of a life sentence: "Stephen has not been able to put this behind him and his life continues to be drastically affected by it.

"This is a very sad day for the criminal process and the rule of law."

Outside the court, Mr Page criticised "startling" prosecution tactics.

His barrister, Gregory Bull, said the case probably cost "tens of millions".

He added: "We are delighted that, after six-and-a-half years of being on police bail, the innocence of Mr Page has been firmly established.

"We always contended that there was insufficient evidence against him. The last six and a half years have been the most traumatic years in his life.

"After 31 years as a police officer who received 26 commendations during his service, he felt bitterly let down by the manner of his arrest and the process that he has been put through."

Mr Bull added: "I would call for an inquiry into the way in which this investigating team has conducted itself.

'Serious flaws'

"I would also call for an investigation into the way in which the independent police authority for Wales has also involved itself far too closely, in my judgment with the ongoing investigation."

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Lynette White was murdered in her Cardiff flat in February 1988

Anthony Barnfather, of law firm Pannone, which represented former Chief Insp Graham Mouncher, 59, said the trial collapsed after serious flaws emerged in the prosecution case.

He said: "It is particularly worrying that this is yet another large and expensive trial where the prosecution failed in its duty to disclose relevant material to the defence.

"Mr Mouncher has been subject to years of unimaginable pressure; however, he can finally put this behind him.

"He has always maintained the integrity of the original investigation and leaves the court with his professional reputation intact and his character unblemished."

Dee Scott, who represented former officer Richard Powell in the case, said the not guilty verdict was "the right one".

"This has been the biggest police corruption case in the history of the system," said Ms Scott. "Our client has always protested his innocence. After six and half years of hell this has finally come to an end."

Mr Powell said he was pleased the correct verdict had been reached.

"The last six-and-a-half years have been harrowing for both me and my family," he said. "I would now like to get back to normal life."

Tom Davies, of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said his thoughts and sympathies were with Ms White's family and friends, who had had to endure again hearing details of her life and murder.

Mr Davies, the Wales commissioner, said: "I am disappointed that the trial has been stopped before all of the issues relating to this investigation could be thoroughly aired and tested before a jury."

He added: "The decision in court today does mark the end of the IPCC involvement as all the officers who had been charged have now retired and therefore the police misconduct process is not applicable."

He welcomed the review into disclosure issues.

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