Dr Gyan Fernando (Home Office Pathologist for Devon and Cornwall)

It is quite obvious that Sekar has done his homework well. Fitted In: The Cardiff 3 and the Lynette White Inquiry had an impact, contributing to changes in investigative techniques and to the notorious case being re-opened for a second time. The book is meticulously researched, fast-paced, often chatty in style, witty and always entertaining. Not only is his technical knowledge especially regarding DNA immaculate, he has got a knack of explaining complex concepts in simple non-technical language. This book is a fascinating masterpiece of investigative journalism and sheer doggedness on the part of the author.

The book starts off with forewords by the well-known Queen’s Counsel, Michael Mansfield as well as others involved in the case. Part one of the book, titled ʻThe Inquiryʼ, sets the background, the initial murder investigation and the events leading to the arrest and charging of the suspects. This section is written in a gripping style with vast amounts of background material.

Part two covers the trials. Sekar analyses every aspect of the court proceedings and highlights the Prosecutions dogged determination to get a conviction at any cost and the failures of the Defence. Amazingly, the Defence did not think it was important to play the tapes covering the whole of Miller’s police interview. Apart from the bullying tactics the police never asked Miller as to who actually wielded the knife and what actually happened to the knife. The murder weapon was never found. One would expect that information to be contained in a voluntary confession. The final part is titled ʻThe Whitewashʼ. [It] covers the appeal and the subsequent reopening of the case and is a through analysis of the bloodstain evidence.

The book is a rather disturbing read and shakes the very foundations of the British legal system. Where crimes are horrific, high profile, with massive media coverage and public alarm there is a considerable burden placed on the police. In an increasingly performance related society the success of a police investigation is judged by convictions. This creates an atmosphere of inadequacy and a feeling of under performance with the temptation to round up the usual suspects.

As Satish stresses the purpose of the book is not a witch-hunt of the South Wales Police but to learn the lessons that this case can teach us in order to prevent it from happening again. Apart from the scientific evidence two important lessons that can be learnt from this case is the manner in which the confessions were obtained and the use of police informers or grasses. Almost invariably such informers are unreliable because they provide information in the expectation of a reward.

The research and investigations of Satish Sekar resulted in the reopening of the murder. It is a landmark publication at least in that respect.

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