Three people who admitted lying in the Lynette White murder case have each been jailed for 18 months for perjury.
Mark Grommek, Leanne Vilday and Angela Psaila all gave evidence at the murder trial in 1990 where Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Tony Paris, known as the Cardiff Three, were wrongly jailed for White’s 1988 murder.
They were later released after a well fought miscarriage of justice campaign, supported by Socialist Worker and many trade unions.
A hearing at the court of appeal cleared them in 1992.
Jailing Grommek, Vilday and Psaila, Mr Justice Maddison admitted, “You were seriously hounded, bullied, threatened, abused and manipulated by the police during a period of several months leading up to late 1988, as a result of which you felt compelled to agree to false accounts they suggested to you.”
David Aubrey QC, Grommek’s barrister, said officers had threatened his client with violence, and he was also threatened with being charged with murder.
The prosecution did not dispute that he had been treated badly by police.
They accepted that all of his allegations of police malpractice were true.
Grommek claimed that Detective Inspector Richard Powell had thrown a chair during an interview and threatened him with a “blanket job” – putting a blanket over him and beating him up.
Grommeck told police, “There was nothing I could do, I knew I couldn’t change statements.
“I really think I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
Defending Psaila, Sasha Wass QC stated, “Miss Psaila was used as an instrument by unscrupulous police officers to try and secure convictions the police badly needed.”
Lord Carlisle, Vilday’s barrister, said, “The sheer wickedness and dishonesty of the police and remorseless systemic corruption in this case is difficult to believe, but it’s true beyond a doubt and it is accepted by the prosecution.”
Nogah Ofer, who now represents the Cardiff Three, issued a statement on their behalf.
It read, “As victims of the miscarriage of justice we are deeply frustrated by the slowness of the criminal investigation and we wish to see any officers responsible for our prosecution brought to justice.”