Lynette White case: Witness Atkins 'covered in blood'

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

A witness, who gave evidence at the trial of three men wrongly convicted of murdering a prostitute, was himself covered in blood the night she died, a jury has heard.

Paul Atkins was babysitting at a house near where Lynette White was killed.

The 20-year-old had been stabbed 50 times at her Cardiff flat in 1988.

At Swansea Crown Court, eight ex-police officers deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Two other people deny perjury.

Three men, who became known as the Cardiff Three, were wrongly convicted of the docklands murder.

The prosecution claim that the former South Wales Police officers manufactured evidence that led to the convictions of the three, Ms White's boyfriend and pimp Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi - who has since died - and Tony Paris.

The men were convicted in 1990 of the murder but released from jail two years later by the Court of Appeal.

Jeffrey Gafoor, 46, was jailed in 2003 for Ms White's murder.

He has told the trial that he killed her alone.

On Monday, the trial heard evidence from former prostitute Claire Thomas who said she had seen Mr Atkins on the night of the murder covered in blood.

Mr Atkins, who was later convicted of perjury for his evidence in 1990 against the Cardiff Three, as a "Jeykll and Hyde" character and "a weirdo" who would later also claim he had killed Ms White.

She said he knew the lay-out of the building where Ms White lived but that night was babysitting for a friend of hers, she said.

Ms Thomas said the two of them returned home to find Mr Atkins had "nipped to the pub" and left their front door open.

When he did return, he had a cut to his hand and his clothes covered in blood, she said.

She told the court: "It was all down his shirt and on his sleeves. It was on his arm and his shirt and his hand."

Ms Thomas said she went to bed as a row broke out between her friend and Mr Atkins.

The trial continues.