Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 17:34 UK

Perjury accused gives no evidence

Mark Grommek
Mark Grommek said police would not accept his version of events

The defence team representing a man accused of perjury at a trial almost 20 years ago after a prostitute's murder has offered no evidence.

Mark Grommek, 50, is accused of giving false evidence against two of the men originally charged with killing Lynette White, 20, in Cardiff in 1988.

Prosecutors said they accepted the truth of interviews from 2002 when he had agreed he had lied in court.

Mr Grommek, who lived in a flat above Ms White, denies three perjury charges.

At that time, Mr Grommek said he had been "broken" by his treatment by detectives investigating the murder.

His false evidence implicated two of the five men who were charged with murdered Ms White.

Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi, Anthony Paris, John Actie and Ronnie Actie stood trial for murder, and three - Mr Miller, Mr Abdullahi and Mr Paris - were convicted and jailed for life before their convictions were overturned in 1992.

The real killer, Jeffrey Gafoor, admitted murder in 2003 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mr Grommek had told the re-investigation into Lynette White's murder in 2002 that he had been accused of lying, subjected to gay insults and threatened with a beating and being imprisoned by police in the original murder inquiry.

Lynette White
Lynette White was stabbed more than 50 times in a Cardiff flat

At one point he was arrested and accused of murder.

He had said he was scared of police and told them what they wanted to hear.

The jury were read transcripts of interviews carried out with Mr Grommek in 2002.

He said he had told officers in 1988 that he had not seen or heard anything on the night of the murder, but they would not accept this.

One officer, named Powell, would throw furniture around the room, he said.

"He would grab hold of a chair and throw it across the room. I think at one stage he grabbed hold of his desk and upended it," Mr Grommek said.

"After I wouldn't tell him what he wanted to know he would just leave me there and I would be there sometimes for hours.

"I asked a few times [for a solicitor], but I remember Powell saying 'if you want a solicitor you have obviously got something to hide'. I didn't ask for one after that."

He had been taken for questioning about 50 times, and eventually agreed to change his evidence eight months after the murder to corroborate the evidence of two other witnesses who had said they had seen four men outside the flat in James Street, in the docks area.

He said Powell told him: "If you corroborate their stories there will be no pressure on you, we will have what we want for court."

Mr Grommek said he did not realise at the time he was committing an offence by giving false evidence: "As far as I was concerned at the time, whatever the police say is law."

The prosecution accept what Mr Grommek has said, but say it does not entitle him to a defence of duress, because he continued to lie when he had time to tell the truth.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.


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