THE murder of Lynette White back in 1998 resulted in one of the most shocking miscarriages of justice in British legal history.
But who was Lynette White and how did she die? Here's everything you need to know.
Who was Lynette White?
Lynette White was murdered on February 14, 1988, in her docklands flat in Cardiff.
Before the fatal incident, the 20-year-old had been working as a prostitute in the city centre.
Five days before her murder, White went missing and made no contact with any of her friends or known associates.
The reason for her disappearance during this period has never been ascertained.
She was due to be called as a witness for the prosecution in two forthcoming trials but was reportedly "laying low".
On the evening of February 14, police forced entry into a flat on James Street as they searched for the missing witness and found White's body inside – having been stabbed more than 60 times by an unknown assailant.
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After the murder, South Wales Police issued a photofit image of a bloodstained, white male seen near the scene of the crime but were unable to trace him.
In November that year, police charged five black and mixed race men with White's murder despite having no scientific evidence linked to them being at the crime scene.
The men were unexpectedly arrested in response to local yacht club secretary Violet Perriam telling detectives she remembered seeing a number of suspicious black men near the flat where White was killed.
The five men were quickly accused of the murder, despite the police having previously said they were looking for a lone white male.
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In November 1990, after the longest murder trial in British history, three of them were found guilty and were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Who killed Lynette White?
The real murderer was Jeffrey Gafoor.
In September 2000, an independent review into unsolved murders in south Wales paved the way for a fresh inquiry.
Eight years later, South Wales Police reopened the case and discovered fresh forensic evidence at the scene, including specks of blood on the cellophane wrapper of a cigarette packet and on a skirting board, which had since been painted over.
This started the huntfor a new suspect who was dubbed “The Cellophane Man''.
After scientists looked into one of the rare DNA components, they narrowed down a list of people who had that component – with one result particularly sticking out.
That partial match was with a youth who was not born when the 1988 killing took place, but who had had dealings with the police.
But testing of the 14-year-old's family found a close relative whose DNA matched that of Cellophane Man's and he was instantly suspected as Lynette's murderer.
That relative's name was Jeffery Gafoor – who had worked as a security guard at his family’s shop in nearby Roath at the time of White’s death.
In 2003, Gafoor was arrested by police – but in a bid to avoid justice the suspect attempted to commit suicide by taking an overdose of pills when he realised he was about to be apprehended.
But, as police had Gafoor under surveillance, they prevented him from doing so and took him to the hospital.
It was on his way to get medical attention that he confessed to the killing Lynette White.
Gafoor was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court to life in prison for the 1988 murder.
The defendant had explained to the court, that on the last night of Lynette White’s life, he had paid her for sex up front but changed his mind when he saw the state of her flat in Butestown – which had no electricity or running water.
He then demanded back his £30 which she refused, before attacking her in fury.
Prosecutor Patrick Harrington QC described the moment Gafoor had confessed to the court: “He took a deep breath and said, just for the record, I did kill Lynette White.
''I have been waiting for this for 15 years. Whatever happens to me, I deserve it’.”
He was ordered to serve a minimum of 13 years.
Mr Justice John Royce who sentenced Gafoor said: “For 15 years, you kept your guilty secret and evaded justice even while others stood trial for the murder you knew that you had committed.”
Will Jeffrey Gafoor ever be released from prison?
The notorious murderer has not been deemed suitable for release, according to the Parole Board.
The coronavirus pandemic prevented Gafoor from making "as much progress as hoped", since he was transferred to an open prison in September 2020.
A summary of a hearing from May 21, 2021, stated that he has been unable to undertake any temporary releases from prison because of Covid restrictions.
The review concluded Gafoor was not ready to manage the community at this time.
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Any release plan for him would likely involve him living in supported accommodation, with strict limits placed on his movements, contacts and activities.
While in prison, Gafoor has reportedly taken part in programmes to address his “decision-making, better ways of thinking and tendency to use violence”.
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