Notorious murderer to remain in prison

·3-min read

One of Wales’s most notorious murderers is not suitable to be released from prison, according to the parole board.

Jeffrey Gafoor was sentenced to life in 2003 after advances in DNA technology linked him with the 1988 murder of sex worker Lynette White, 20, who was stabbed more than 50 times at her docklands flat in Cardiff.

A summary of a Parole Board hearing from May 21 this year states that, while Gafoor had been making progress since transferring to an open prison last year, Covid-19 restrictions prevented him “making as much progress as hoped”.

Gafoor has also been unable to undertake any temporary releases from prison because of the pandemic.

Lynette White – murder victim
Sex worker Lynette White was stabbed to death in Cardiff in 1988 (South Wales Police/PA)

The document states: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody, and the other evidence presented in the dossier, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Gafoor was suitable for release.

“However, on assessing the benefits and risks of Mr Gafoor remaining in open conditions, the panel recommended that he should do so.

“He had made considerable efforts to address his areas of risk and had demonstrated steady progress.

“It is now for the Secretary of State to decide whether he accepts the Parole Board’s recommendation.

“Mr Gafoor will be eligible for another parole review in due course.”

The review was told the probation service had yet to “fully develop” a release plan for Gafoor but would likely involve him living in supported accommodation with strict limits placed on his movements, contacts and activities.

“The panel concluded this outline plan was not ready to manage Mr Gafoor in the community at this stage,” they said.

“His probation officer advised that a gradual return to the community would be needed, using temporary releases to allow Mr Gafoor to be thoroughly tested and to accommodate to the eventual needs of release on life licence.”

The hearing was told that Gafoor’s risk factors at the time of the murder included a “loss of control when angry or feeling under threat”.

There had also been concerns about his emotional wellbeing, and he “had been willing to use violence and weapons and had given insufficient thought to his victims”.

While in prison Gafoor had undertaken accredited programmes to address his “decision making, better ways of thinking and tendency to use violence”.

Gafoor was jailed for life with a minimum of 13 years at Cardiff Crown Court in July 2003 after pleading guilty to murder when he was 38, confessing to stabbing Ms White with a knife more than 50 times following a row over £30.

At his sentencing, Patrick Harrington QC, prosecuting, told the court: “He did not simply kill, he attacked in a barbaric manner, cutting, stabbing and slashing his victim over 50 times, cutting her throat, slashing both wrists, cutting, stabbing and slashing her face, arm and especially the torso.

“It is tempting to talk of the defendant having attacked in a frenzy, but the pattern of distribution of injuries suggests a particular mindset.”

Ms White’s murder originally resulted in three innocent men being jailed in 1990 before their convictions were quashed on appeal in 1992, and a reopening of the case led police to Gafoor 11 years later.

A £30 million investigation, Britain’s biggest police corruption probe, was launched into whether 13 South Wales Police officers perverted the course of justice in manipulating evidence, but in 2011 a trial of eight officers collapsed when documents went missing.

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