The admission by Jeffrey Gafoor that he murdered Lynette White on Valentine's Day 1988, ended a 15-year search for the true killer.
The Cardiff Three were victims of a miscarriage of justice
But three innocent men spent time behind bars before DNA testing finally linked Gafoor to his victim.
The savagery of the murder shocked Cardiff and Wales.
Lynette White, a 20-year-old prostitute, was found stabbed more than 50 times in a flat above a betting shop in the red light district of Cardiff's Docklands.
Her throat and wrists had been slashed and her body mutilated.
BBC's Crimewatch programme staged a reconstruction of events
The killing came at a time when city's dockland was beginning its publicly-funded transformation into today's Cardiff Bay.
A high-profile murder investigation was launched, with 50 officers assigned to the case and an appeal for information broadcast on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.
In November 1988, five local men were arrested and they eventually went on trial at Swansea Crown Court, despite a lack of evidence linking them to the crime scene.
Following one of the longest trials in British legal history, the three - Steven Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Tony Paris - were found guilty and sentenced to life in 1990.
Yusef Abdullahi after the Appeal Court hearing
Cousins Ronald and John Actie were cleared at the trial.
Serious questions were raised from the beginning about the strength of the convictions of the men who became known as the Cardiff Three.
Graffiti was daubed on walls in Butetown echoing the three men's pleas of innocence.
Campaigners raised particular concerns over the way a confession was taken from Lynette White's boyfriend and pimp, Steve Miller.
The campaign gained momentum and two years after the Cardiff Three were sentenced, the Court of Appeal ruled that a gross miscarriage of justice had taken place.
Delivering his ruling, Lord Justice Taylor said that short of physical abuse, it was hard to conceive of a more hostile and intimidatory approach by police officers to a suspect, during the interview of Steve Miller.
Jeffrey Gafoor was eventually convicted of the killing
The Cardiff Three were free, but a new inquiry into the murder was not launched until September 2000 as part of a police programme of examining unsolved cases.
The five men originally charged with the murder all gave DNA samples after South Wales Police announced in January 2002 that they had built up a genetic profile of the killer.
All five were told that their DNA did not link them to the murder.
One of the original suspects, Tony Parris, said: "I knew I wasn't involved and was glad to have the opportunity to prove it."
A fortnight after the 15th anniversary of the murder, police announced they had arrested Jeffrey Gafoor, the real killer of Lynette White.