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Last Updated: Friday, 4 July 2003, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Life for Lynette White murder
Jeffrey Gafoor
Gafoor has never spoken about why he murdered Ms White
A 38-year-old security guard has been sentenced to life after pleading guilty to murdering Cardiff prostitute Lynette White on Valentine's Day 1988.

Appearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday, Jeffrey Gafoor from Llanharan, near Bridgend - described in court as a "loner" - brought an end to a notorious 15-year murder hunt.

Prostitute Lynette White, 20, was stabbed more than 50 times in a flat above a betting shop in the red light district of Cardiff's docklands.

Advances in DNA technology finally led police to Gafoor more than a decade on.

Sentencing Gafoor to life, Mr Justice John Royce said: "You ended a young life in the most terrible way, and for 15 years you kept your guilty secret and evaded justice, even as others faced trial for the murder you knew you committed."

The discovery of Ms White's mutilated body prompted one of the biggest murder hunts ever mounted by a British police force.

It was also to be one of the most controversial.
Lynette White
He murdered Lynette White but precisely why, how or even when he committed this offence is known only to him"
Patrick Harrington QC

Two years later, three men - the so-called Cardiff Three - were wrongly jailed for her murder but were released two years later when the Court of Appeal quashed their convictions.

Two of them, Tony Paris and Yusef Abdullahi, were in court as Gafoor made his admission which brought gasps from the public gallery.

Gafoor's defence barrister, John Charles Rees, who also worked on the original trial, later demanded a public inquiry into the earlier investigation.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Paris said: "I'm very happy, this is a good day.

"It has been a struggle but we kept our heads up and kept going forward hoping this day would come.

"[Gafoor] is a horrible person who deserves what he gets. He destroyed us all.

"I hope he spend the rest of his life in jail."

Gafoor apologised to the wrongly convicted men and to Lynette White's family through his barrister in court.

DNA was found on a skirting board at the murder scene

But Yusef Abdullahi completely dismissed Gafoor's statement of apology.

Outside court, South Wales Police Detective Chief Superintendent Wynne Phillips said: "Clearly, there is some work to do now in terms of looking back at the original trial.

"The inquiry in to the trial, being carried out in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service, is on-going and for that reason it would be inappropriate to discuss the matter any further."

Detectives always maintained that DNA evidence from the scene would lead them to the killer.

That evidence emerged after detectives launched a new inquiry following an independent review of the case.

A painstaking examination of the flat found a fresh DNA sample under layers of paint on a skirting board.

Analysis of that led to the profile of a man who was dubbed by scientists and detectives "Cellophane Man" because of a bloodstained Cellophane cigarette packet wrapper found at the scene of the crime.

Men wrongly convicted of Lynette White murder
Cardiff Three: Steve Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Tony Paris

The DNA from that, and from the skirting board, did not match any profile on the national DNA database. However, it did match partly that of a youth's who was known to the police - but who had not been born at the time of the murder.

The teenager, it turned out, was a close relative of Gafoor.

Immediately after his arrest in March this year, Gafoor was admitted to hospital under police guard. The DNA evidence against him was so overwhelming that he confessed to the murder.

Patrick Harrington, QC, told the court: "He murdered Lynette White but precisely why, how or even when he committed this offence is known only to him."

We miss her every day... we hope Lynette can rest in peace
Lynette's sister Keira

"But from the reconstruction it is not unreasonable to assume that he went to her flat to use her services as a prostitute but something happened as she took her clothes off - or possibly as she put them back on.

"A knife was produced and Gafoor used it to kill."

The court heard that he did not simply kill but acted in "a barbaric manner".

"It's possible he acted in a frenzy but the pattern of the injuries, especially to the breasts, suggested that it took a certain mindset," Mr Harrington added.

"He then carried on living the same boring life, continuing to be a loner."

Gafoor's barrister later told the court that his client had stabbed Lynette White after an argument over a 30 payment for sex.

John Charles Rees said Gafoor had changed his mind and wanted his money back. An argument began and Gafoor attacked his victim, the barrister explained.

As Gafoor begins a life term, relatives of Lynette White can finally console themselves with the knowledge that her murderer is at last behind bars.

A statement issued by her sister, Keira White, read: "We miss her every day. We would like to praise the work of the detectives and the investigating team and we hope Lynette can rest in peace."

The BBC's Wyre Davies
"Amazingly they found DNA by carefully scraping away at skirting boards that had since been painted"

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