Police may be charged over inquiry into killing

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The Independent Online
CRIMINAL charges are being considered against 11 South Wales police officers after an investigation into the wrongful conviction of two brothers for the murder of a sex-shop manageress in Swansea, it was disclosed yesterday.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it had received the last of several reports from Devon and Cornwall Police, whose inquiries led to the quashing of the convictions of Wayne and Paul Darvell by the Court of Appeal. The brothers were sentenced to life at Swansea Crown Court in 1986 with the recommendation that Paul, 31, serve a minimum of 20 years and Wayne, 30, a minimum of 15 years.

In July, the Court of Appeal declared that the convictions were unsafe and unsatisfactory after it heard allegations that detectives had suppressed crucial scientific evidence and extensively rewritten the 150-page record of an interview with Wayne Darvell - in which he implicated his brother in the murder - despite giving evidence on oath that the note was taken contemporaneously.

The Devon and Cornwall inquiry, supervised by the Police Complaints Authority, was instigated after an examination of the case by Justice, the legal reform group, and the BBC's Rough Justice programme.

After discrepancies were uncovered in the case against the Darvells, the Devon and Cornwall inquiry was expanded to examine about 1,500 notebooks at Swansea police station over a wider period of time.

It is understood that five detectives could face criminal charges as a result of the first phase of the operation, and a further six officers could face charges following the inquiry's wider phase.