The Murder of Lynette White
In early February 1988 Lynette White was reported missing and a warrant was issued for her arrest because she was due to be called as as a witness in an upcoming trial, the police searched but could not find her and speculated that she was purposely lying low until the trial, but on the Valentine’s day her body was found in a flat in Cardiff, her throat had been slit., she had multiple stab wounds to her chest and breasts, and other wounds to her face, stomach, arms, wrists and inner thighs, as well as defensive wounds on her hands.
South Wales police released a statement with a photo fit image, of a white man who had been seen wearing bloodstained clothes in the area around the time of the murder, however they were unable to trace the man. In November 1988 the police charged five black and mixed-race men with White’s murder despite having no physical evidences tying the men to the murder, in 1990 three of the men were found guilty and given life sentences.
In December 1992, the three men were released after their conviction was quashed by the court of appeal, after finding the the police investigating the murder had acted improperly. At the time police insisted that the men had been released on a technicality and refused to re-open the investigation. However, in 2002 new DNA technology was used to obtain a DNA profile from evidence that had been taken from the scene, this led investigators to Jeffery Gafoor who confessed to the murder and was given a life sentence.
In 2011, former police officers were charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice, but in November 2011, the trial collapsed when the defence claimed that copies of files which they said they should have seen had instead been destroyed. As a result, the judge ruled that the defendants could not receive a fair trial and they were acquitted. In an extraordinary twist, the missing documents were found 7 weeks later.
Calls for a public enquiry in the trial were turned down, with the then Home Secretary Theresa May instead opting for an independent review, which found that whilst the collapse of the case against the offices was embarrassing, the investigation found only human error rather than corruption.