Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Latest chapter in murder inquiry

Mark Grommek
Mark Grommek had lived in a flat above which Lynette White was killed

The sentence of Mark Grommek, Leanne Vilday and Angela Psaila for perjury after giving false evidence in the Lynette White murder case brings to a close the latest chapter in the 20 year long investigation.

Grommek's recent trial at Cardiff Crown Court, which was brought to an end when he changed his plea on three charges of perjury to guilty, is the fifth time this complex case has come before a court.

The investigation began on Valentine's Day in 1988 when 20-year-old prostitute Lynette White was found stabbed more than 50 times in a flat above a betting shop in the red light district of Cardiff's Docklands.

Her body had been mutilated and her wrists and throat slashed. The savagery of the killing shocked people in Cardiff and Wales.

A high profile investigation was launched with 50 police officers assigned to the case and in November 1988 five local men were arrested.

Three men were released on appeal in 1992 after their convictions were overturned.

A lengthy trial at Swansea Crown Court was halted after the judge died and was rescheduled.

Two cousins Ronald and John Actie were acquitted at the trial.

But three - Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Tony Paris, who became known as the Cardiff Three - were convicted in 1990.

They were later cleared at the Court of Appeal, but in Grommek's trial in October 2008, the jury was told how his false evidence had originally led to the five men being charged with Ms White's murder.

Initially the 50-year-old, who lived above the flat in the docks in which Ms White was murdered, told police he knew nothing of the circumstances of her death.

But in late 1988 he changed his story saying he had seen four men outside the James Street flat.

Grommek said police had used suggestion, persuasion and verbal bullying to get him to agree to a version of events that was to implicate Ronnie Actie and Mr Abdullahi in particular.

As it was, the case became one of Britain's most notorious miscarriages of justice as the Cardiff Three's convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1992.

Lynette White
Lynette White was stabbed more than 50 times in a flat above a betting shop

Lord Justice Taylor in his ruling also criticised the "hostile and intimidatory" approach by police officers to the interview with Mr Miller.

The Lynette White murder inquiry was relaunched by South Wales Police in 2000 and forensic evidence was gathered which led to the conviction of Jeffrey Gafoor, a loner security guard from Llanharan, near Bridgend, in 2003.

The following year, the force launched an inquiry into what went wrong with the original investigation, which has been supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

When police interviewed Grommek about that in October 2004, he said he lied because he wanted everything "over and done with".

Later at his trial, his barrister David Aubrey QC, told the jury: "The defendant has instructed us to inform the court that he is prepared to make witness statements and give evidence in court in due course, if he is required, against any police officers who may be charged."

Over the course of this new investigation, a number of arrests have been made, including that of serving and former police officers. A number of people still remain on police bail.

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