South East Wales

Lynette White murder: Police officers lose civil case

Lynette White Image copyright PA

Eight former South Wales Police detectives involved in the Lynette White murder investigation have lost their civil case against the force.

They brought civil action after being cleared of corruption allegations when their trial collapsed in 2011.

Graham Mouncher, Thomas Page, Richard Powell, John Seaford, Michael Daniels, Peter Greenwood, Paul Jennings and Paul Stephen sued for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and misfeasance.

Their case was dismissed on Tuesday.

Following the decision, handed down at the High Court sitting in Cardiff, a solicitor representing seven of the officers said they would consider the possibility of an appeal.

The eight were among 15 former officers who brought the civil case.

The men claimed South Wales Police acted deliberately or recklessly beyond their powers in the investigation into their conduct.

Lynette White - a timeline

More than £30m was spent on the trial of the former officers before the case collapsed when key documents went missing.

The group also claimed the force adopted "a mindset of guilt" about the officers and pursued the investigation "in a wholly disproportionate way, despite the manifest weaknesses of the available evidence".

But the judge said the claimants failed to prove this.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams said no South Wales Police officer exceeded their power during the investigation into the claimants or acted in bad faith during the inquiry.

A South Wales Police spokesman said the force "welcomed the judgement"

He added: "34 arrests were made during the course of this investigation. The judge found against South Wales Police in only two claims concerning arrests, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to make one of the arrests and that one other was unnecessary.

"We will now address those matters in conjunction with the claimants' legal advisers."

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Top row: Michael Daniels, Peter Greenwood, Paul Jennings, Graham Mouncher. Bottom row: Thomas Page, Richard Powell, John Seaford and Paul Stephen

Ms White, a prostitute, was stabbed more than 50 times in the Cardiff docklands flat where she worked.

Tony Paris, Yusef Abdullahi and Stephen Miller - who became known as the Cardiff Three - were wrongly jailed in 1990 for Ms White's murder.

They were sentenced to life but were freed in December 1992 after their convictions were overturned.

In 2003, new DNA technology led police to Ms White's real killer, Jeffrey Gafoor, who confessed to stabbing her in a row over £30.

The quashed convictions of the Cardiff Three led to the failed trial of the eight former officers.

After Gafoor admitted murder, the then chief constable of South Wales Police, Sir Anthony Burden, ordered an investigation into the events which led to the prosecution of the innocent men.

A Home Office review, led by Richard Horwell QC, into the collapse of the trial in 2011 is ongoing.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "He will report his findings following the conclusion of civil proceedings which were brought against South Wales Police. This will allow him to examine any evidence from the civil case which may be pertinent to his inquiry."

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