South East Wales

Lynette White trial: witnesses want convictions quashed

Three witnesses in the Lynette White murder trial, whose lies helped set the scene for one of the country's most notorious miscarriages of justice, now want their convictions quashed.

It follows the collapse last December of Britain's biggest police corruption case in Swansea at a cost of £30m.

Eight former police officers accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice were found not guilty.

This was after a judge was told files of evidence had been destroyed.

Two months later the files were found in the possession of South Wales Police. An investigation is under way.

Former prostitute Angela Psaila has broken her 24-year silence to explain to BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme why she lied about innocent men in the original murder trial.

She said: "I knew it was wrong to tell lies but I am trying to make the public understand that what happened, it wasn't my doing."

In 2004 new DNA technology led South Wales Police to Ms White's real killer - Jeffrey Gafoor. He confessed to stabbing the prostitute at her Cardiff flat in a row over £30.

In 2008 Ms Psaila was jailed for 18 months for perjury along with another former prostitute, Leanne Vilday, and Mark Grommek, who lived above the flat where Ms White was stabbed more than 50 times on Valentine's day in 1988.

All vulnerable witnesses, they said South Wales Police officers had bullied them into lying about the Cardiff Five - Ms White's boyfriend Stephen Miller; Yusef Abdullahi; Tony Paris; and cousins Ronnie and John Actie.

Fresh legal action

Mr Miller, Mr Abdullahi and Mr Paris were released after their convictions were quashed in 1992. Ronnie and John Actie were acquitted, after spending two years in jail awaiting trial.

Ms Psaila said: "I felt bad about what was happening but at the end of the day, it was totally, how can I put it, out of my hands. There was nothing that I could do - nothing.

Image caption Lynette White was murdered in a flat in Cardiff's docklands in February 1988

"This is the amount of pressure they was putting on people, we couldn't - you couldn't do anything."

Lord Carlile QC, who represented Leanne Vilday, has called for a public inquiry into the collapse of the corruption case.

He said: "I believe very strongly that the only way of laying this to rest in a constructive and positive way is by having a full inquiry, an uninhibited inquiry, into all aspects, so that the South Wales Police will be able to move on without this around their neck."

What began with a murder in 1988 has led to three murder trials, an appeal, a perjury trial and a collapsed corruption case.

It is estimated that by the time the investigations are finally over, it could cost the taxpayer more than £100m.

South Wales Police are facing fresh legal action from the men wrongly accused of Ms White's murder and the former officers who deny framing them.

The chief constable of South Wales, Peter Vaughan, said he could not discuss the case because of ongoing inquiries which he supports.

Stephen Miller, has talked for the first time about the life he shared with Ms White and about the fact her murder ensured she would be remembered for what she did rather than the person she really was.

He told the programme: "She was a very quiet person, kept herself to herself. She liked videos, she liked to have the occasional drink, she liked smoking her cigarettes and all the things a 20-year-old does."

He said he was angry that no police officers had ever been convicted of wrongdoing in relation to the investigation.

The former officers accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice always maintained their innocence.

Week In Week Out can be seen on Tuesday, 28 February on BBC One Wales at 22:35 GMT.

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