‘There’s been another murder…’

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Another showing of the TV series ‘Murder in the Valleys’ (MITV), looking into the horrific Clydach murders, again highlights failings by South Wales Police (SWP), amid growing concern that the small country has FOUR forces.

The broadcast on the new free channel Sky Mix (one of four) focuses on the terrible case of four people (Mandy Power her elderly disabled mother Doris, and two young children) being brutally beaten to death in 1999. After an earlier transmission the documentaries were nominated for two awards at the BAFTA Cymru ceremony, including one for best Factual Series. Following a police investigation which lasted for a year after the murders, David ‘Dai’ Morris was convicted of them, but died in prison protesting his innocence.

This shines the spotlight on other flawed inquiries by SWP, and the campaigns underway now to clear the names of those convicted.

For example, Tony Paris, Yusef Abdullahi, and Stephen Miller were falsely found guilty in 1990 of the murder of Lynette White, and spent more than two years serving prison sentences having endured the same time on remand, while cousins John and Ronnie Actie were acquitted after being in custody since their arrests. Inaccurate eyewitness statements, coerced confessions, and more were used in the police ‘investigation’. However on appeal in 1992 the taped interviews with Mr Miller, who had a mental age of 11, were deemed an example of inappropriate interrogation for reference in future cases, such was their intimidating and coercive nature. It exposes the failings by SWP investigating officers, and bolsters demands for a judicial inquiry.

Murderer Jeffrey Gafoor and photofit the police had originally

Three BLACK men had been convicted of the murder (although FIVE, including the Acties, were put on trial), when one WHITE man (Jeffrey Gafoor) was finally caught years later through DNA analysis. He confessed to carrying out the appalling 1988 murder, and even apologised, through his barrister, to the others who had been incorrectly jailed.

The five innocent men, were arrested in December 1988 after detectives had been on the case for 10 months, and were pursuing a suspect seen nearby (who looked EXACTLY like Gafoor), minutes following the murder. But when SWP changed the investigating team, and pressure mounted to make an arrest, attention turned to locals. Despite no forensic evidence connecting the five to Ms White’s murder they were taken in.

Demonstrators want a legal inquiry – and more action is planned

There are now growing demands for a full legal investigation into the number of high-profile miscarriages in the 1980s, ’90s, and 2000s. Apart from The Cardiff Three (Five), they include: The Cardiff Newsagent Three, The Darvell Brothers, Jonathan Jones (The Tooze Murders), as well as Annette Hewins (The Gurnos Fire Case). More action is planned by The Cardiff Five support group over the coming weeks, to draw attention to these cases.

However this shameful list does NOT have on it all those innocent people, who were convicted of less important crimes than murder, yet who now have a record which will affect them for the rest of their lives, and there is a powerful argument for getting rid of SWP completely.

All of this has endorsed the fact that across Wales and England the public’s confidence in the police is at an all time low. A YouGov poll taken in November found that only 49 per cent of Britons thought the police were “doing a good job”, down from 77 per cent four years ago. In his most recent assessment of policing, Andy Cooke, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMCIC), described this as one of policing’s “biggest crises in living memory”. He could not remember, he said, “when the relationship between the police and the public was more strained than it is now”.

Liz Saville-Roberts, MP, leader of Plaid Cymru in the House of Commons, tabled the motion highlighting miscarriages by South Wales Police which called for a judicial inquiry

Anger over the miscarriages of justices, has led to the tabling of an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the UK Parliament which was signed by several MPs, emphasising growing calls for a judicial review.

It proclaimed: “…this House notes the series of cases since the 1980s investigated by South Wales Police force that resulted in wrongful convictions; further notes the devastating impact that wrongful accusation and imprisonment can have on people subject to miscarriages of justice; expresses concern that many of the perpetrators of these crimes have yet to be found; and calls on the Ministry of Justice to organise a judicial inquiry into all miscarriages of justice that took place between 1982 and 2016”. The motion was immediately signed by three Plaid Cymru (Plaid) MPs, including the party’s leader in the House of Commons (HoC), who tabled the motion, Liz Saville-Roberts.

Phil with Mike O’Brien, one of those wrongly convicted after a flawed police investigation, at the Media Conference calling for an inquiry into the actions of South Wales Police

Media Conference (MC), was held too (at which our Editor, Phil Parry, spoke) also demanding the judicial inquiry to uncover the truth about the miscarriages (it has since been refused, but as the EDM and last night’s screening show, there is now increasing pressure to hold one).

Following the MC some then marched to the Welsh Parliament/Senedd (WP/S), and Welsh Government (WG) buildings, with a number of politicians backing a Statement of Opinion to support the calls for an inquiry. A rally was held as well outside Cardiff Crown Court.

Wales has FOUR police forces, in a population of 3.1 million!

At the MC Phil stressed the disturbing fact that areas with a greater population, have FEWER police forces. “It is ridiculous that in a population of 3.1 million people we in Wales have FOUR forces, he said: “Scotland is much bigger, but only has ONE. London has almost nine million people yet has just TWO Think of the public money that is wasted duplicating resources, to pay fat salaries to all those Assistant Chief Constables, and Chief Constables!”.

He also said to the audience that he was regularly approached by solicitors during the 1990s, who said the police were doing bad things, and that something had to be done. On one occasion he was told to put away his notebook because he was informed that no record should be made of the conversation. He also described how other forces had been put in ‘special measures’, but that this was the least that should be done with SWP.

Cardiff newsagent, Phillip Saunders, and one of the three people wrongly convicted of his murder, Mike O’Brien

The MC was organised by Mr O’Brien, who talked movingly about how his health had been badly affected after he spent 11 years inside prison, for a crime he did not commit. Mr O’Brien told The Eye: “My health has been ruined, and there has been long-lasting damage. My miscarriage of justice case has caused a huge family rift”. Mr O’Brien, who is now in his fifties, was jailed wrongly in 1988 for the killing of Cardiff newsagent, Phillip Saunders. Another who spoke emotionally of what had happened to him, was John Actie.

Any number of programmes have been broadcast looking into the cases

Several programmes have been broadcast looking at the events in which the police played such a major part (apart from MITV), and a number are in production now.

The promotional material before one of them, proclaimed: “Episode One Monday 23rd May at 9pm Raphael Rowe delves into the brutal murder of Cardiff newsagent Phillip Saunders in 1987. The episode examines the investigation that led to the conviction of three innocent men, which resulted in their wrongful imprisonment. The episode reveals shocking police threats and coercion that led to the arrest and incarceration of Michael O’Brien, Ellis Sherwood and Darren Hall. After the men had spent more than a decade behind bars, a court appeal quashed the original verdict, but the unsolved case continues to haunt the city. Plus, for the first time ever, the victim’s sister and nephew break a 35-year silence and reveal exclusive insights into the case”.

Phil Jones formerly of South Wales Police had a “lack of moral fibre” according to the judge when he was jailed

Adding to the woes of SWP, and emphasising the EDM as well as the growing protest movement, is that a former head of CID has been jailed. A highly complex sting operation trapped one time Detective Chief Superintendent Phil Jones, which involved the bugging of cars, and deploying of decoy ‘clients’ who made out they wanted to pay for information. It climaxed in Mr Jones admitting to paying an ex-colleague to supply him with information from police databases, after he retired from SWP to run a private investigations agency in 1997.

The MITV screening once more has underlined recent events despite the fact it is not (in theory) a miscarriage of justice case, even though the death of the man convicted of them (Mr Morris) came as he maintained his innocence.

Website where Debra Morris showed her frustration

Another television programme on 5Star (which pretended to be looking into ‘cold cases’), though was VERY different. and incurred the wrath of many close to what had happened. 5Star is a free-to-air television channel owned by Paramount Networks UK & Australiaand a sister to Channel 5, which specialises in documentaries. One of the daughters of Mr Morris, Janiene Marie O’Sullivan, publicly declared to her dedicated website group: “I am finding it difficult to put into words how it made me feel….Basically it was a whole hour of Martin Lloyd-Evans (who led the investigation into the Clydach Murderstalking rubbish!…South Wales police have done themselves no favours again with this one”.

Mr Morris’s sister Debra Thomas also said on the site: “Can you believe the utter verbal diarrhoea Martin Lloyd was spouting in that cheap channel 5 program…I also know the journalist is on this group so I hope and pray she gets to read this.”  And: “What disgraceful journalism!! They should hang their heads in shame”.

Mandy Power, her two daughters Katie and Emily, along with disabled mother Doris Dawson, were all beaten to death

The website Mrs Thomas helped set up, along with her niece, questions her brother’s guilt and has almost 31,000 members. On it she published a reply from Channel 5 to her complaint about the programme, but above the letter she wrote: “What research did they do????”.

The successful prosecution case against Mr Morris was that he had gone to Ms Power’s looking for sex, high on drink and drugs, been spurned and beat the entire family to death, leaving his chain there in the process. Yet the evidence suggested Doris had been killed first, NOT her daughter, when presumably it would have been the person doing the spurning who would have died FIRST!

Mike O’Brien on the Sky programme which was re-shown ‘Murder In The Valleys’, said he would be South Wales Police’s worst nightmare

Mr O’Brien appears on MITV saying that he believes the conviction of Mr Morris IS in fact another miscarriage of justice.

He told the MITV documentary-makers:  “When I was released from prison I remember…saying ‘I’m going to be South Wales Police’s worst nightmare for what they did to me’, and I meant every word of it”.

There is little to smile about for David Thorne…

In a formal interview for MITV (they wouldn’t do one with Phil), Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) of SWP, David Thorne, made a startling admission, about the mistakes that were made by the police in the earlier miscarriages of justice. During filming for the programme Mr Thorne appeared on, a forensic review found traces of DNA on a sock which it is believed was used to hold the murder weapon, that were “more likely than not” to have come from Mr Morris, and SWP trumpeted the finding.

Dai Morris’ sister, Debra (now Thomas) with parents after the first conviction: ‘They’ve got the wrong man’

They effectively said:  ‘We know we got it wrong in the past, but this time is different. Trust us’. Yet a long-running campaign has been launched to establish his innocence, and after the first trial when Mr Morris was convicted, his sister Debra gave a tearful press conference with her parents when she stressed her belief that he was NOT guilty. She said: “He just didn’t do these things…they’ve got the wrong man”.

ACC Thorne, though, insisted on MITV, that Mr Morris was the RIGHT man, but acknowledged that mistakes had been made in previous police inquiries. He proclaimed:  “It’s safe to say we got it wrong (in the past).  We absolutely got it wrong. (There were)HUGE errors in the way investigations were conducted (but) we HAVEN’T found that in this case.  This is not a miscarriage of justice”.

Phil on BBC Panorama, some of which was shown again in the Sky broadcast

However Phil had made a BBC Panorama television programme about the shocking Clydach Murders a few years after they had been committed, and he was the first to question the police actions during THIS investigation too.  As he said in the opening of the programme: “One police force in Britain has a disturbing record of locking up the wrong people in murder cases”.

During MITV, the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) at the time, Detective Superintendent (DS) (Retd.) of SWP Martyn LloydEvans (who used the word ‘sublime’ when he meant ‘subdued’!), is questioned about the apparent mistake of not releasing to the public a witnesses E-Fit constructed soon after the murders, which, it said, had a 90 per cent likeness. He replies that because the man seen was carrying a bag, and it was believed the killer did not have one, it was not put out.

Martyn Lloyd-Evans on ‘Murder in the Valleys’, didn’t think an E-Fit was ‘relevant’

Mr Evans said: “I didn’t think it was relevant”, but the E-Fit matched almost exactly the face of the first senior police officer on the scene, Inspector (at the time) Stuart Lewis, who (against all procedure) had only stayed there a matter of minutes, or that of his identical twin brother (another police officer, Sergeant [also at the time] Stephen Lewis, whose wife was having a gay affair with one of the victims). Inspector Stuart Lewis, had changed his shift to be on that night, yet at crucial hours during the murders his whereabouts were unknown. He was driving a red Peugeot diesel, and a car similar to this was spotted near the murder scene. So to say the E-Fit was ‘not relevant’, appeared bizarre in the extreme, to critics of the police.

Martyn Lloyd-Evans should look up what words mean!

However Mr Evans’ record was considered so exemplary he was later chosen to examine cold cases in the Major Crime Review unit. In 2009, he said: “What we do is use today’s technology on yesterday’s cases which means that offenders who may think that they are safe 20 years after a crime has been committed aren’t any more and could receive a knock on the door any day”.

In the MITV films Mr Evans’ boss as the then head of SWP CIDWynne Phillips, also said something incredible: “We can’t manufacture evidence”. But events before the murders, showed that SWP have done EXACTLY that.

Wynne Phillips, formerly head of CID South Wales Police on ‘Murder in the Valleys’ – ‘We can’t manufacture evidence’

To take just one of those cases (in which Phil was intimately involved, because he had made ANOTHER programme questioning THAT conviction [The Cardiff Newsagent Three]), the police MANUFACTURED (as Mr Phillips said they DIDN’T do) an overheard ‘confession’ between the young men they had arrested, when an admission was effectively made to the murder of the newsagent, and they presented before the court ‘EVIDENCE’ that the group had run from the scene, but one of the three had bad legs and couldn’t run at all.

The police have crossed a line

Now there is more evidence being presented – of a re-broadcast of documentaries looking at the Clydach Murders case, which emphasises all of this…

 

The memories of Phil’s remarkable decades long award-winning career in journalism (during which the mistakes of the police were often brought out) as he was gripped by the rare and incurable neurological disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’ (including The Cardiff Newsagent Three case). Order the book now!

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

Tomorrow – how during 40 years in journalism, knowledge of corruption in key institutions by Phil was ever-present, but almost NEVER pursued because proving it was so difficult, and now this is maintained by evidence starting to emerge only slowly about graft many years ago.