Tony Paris, wrongly convicted of the murder of Lynette White alongside Yusef Abdullahi and Stephen Miller, has died. The three men became known collectively as the ‘Cardiff Three’ – cousins John and Ronald Actie were also wrongly accused – in one of the worst miscarriages of justice in recent years. You can read the journalist Satish Sekar on the case for the Justice Gap here. The shocking injustice led to the biggest ever police corruption trial which collapsed when eight police officers accused of fitting up the Cardiff Three walked free in 2011 after the case collapsed when the court was told that vital documents were destroyed. Only a month later the documents were discovered by Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Coutts .
Tony Paris, aged 65 years, died after a period of ill health. His daughter Cassie announced her father’s death on twitter.
I can’t believe I’m writing this… my dad Anthony (Tony) Paris has sadly passed. ? Anyone who knows me knows my dad is EVERYTHING to me. It was me and him against the world. I will continue to raise awareness and fight for those who face injustice in his name. I love you dada!
— Cassie Justice Parris (@cassiejparris) September 11, 2022
Cassie told the Guardian that the men had been damaged by their experience. ‘The men were were terribly affected and my dad didn’t like being around people and kept himself isolated to family and very close friends… My dad told me he still remembered men hanging themselves and couldn’t believe he was around murderers and paedophiles when he was innocent.”
Ceri Dawn Jackson, producer of the brilliant ‘Shreds: Murder in the dock’ podcast which tells the story of the Cardiff Three case, tweeted:
Thank you for everything, Tony Paris. For your friendship, good nature, trust, time, patience, laughter and, at times, tears. Rest in eternal peace, loved one, safe in the arms of your beloved dad, mama and sister Esther. You liked this photo so here it is ✨#RIPTonyParis pic.twitter.com/ynKIwvOxMA
— Ceri Dawn Jackson (@CeriDawnJackson) September 11, 2022
Lynette White was just 20 years old when she was murdered by Jeffrey Gafoor following a petty dispute over £30 in 1988. It was to take 15 years and the wrongful conviction of three innocent men, based on evidence which was so fundamentally flawed that it took, to quote Satish Sekar, ‘an extraordinary suspension of disbelief from several professionals, especially lawyers who should have known better [to do it]’ was an affront to justice all of its own. In December 1992 the Court of Appeal quashed those convictions. Almost 10 years later, advances in DNA techniques led to the arrest of Jeffery Gafoor who, in July 2003, pleaded guilty to the murder of Lynette White.
Duncan Campbell, the Guardian’s former crime correspondent, described Tony Paris as ‘one of the most shameful of miscarriages of justice of the last half century. At the time of Lynette White’s murder, the only evidence was that a dark-haired, blood-stained white man with cut hands had been seen near her flat shortly after the killing. Paris was one of seven black men arrested. All were tested for blood found at the scene of the murder but with no positive result. Five were charged. Three were convicted in 1990. All were innocent.’