The Lynette White Case: How Advances in DNA Tests Can Trap Killers from Tiny Clues

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 5, 2003 | Go to article overview

The Lynette White Case: How Advances in DNA Tests Can Trap Killers from Tiny Clues


THE conviction of Jeffrey Gafoor could not have been secured without recent advances in DNA identification techniques. As Satish Sekar - the investigative journalist whose 1997 book Fitted In urged South Wales Police to reopen the case - said yesterday, ``Without it, the police would have had a difficult job charging him, even if he had walked into Butetown police station and confessed.''

It was Mr Sekar, and Lynette White's mother Peggy Pesticcio, who badgered South Wales Police into pursuing the DNA angle. At one point there were fears that the minute samples found at the scene of the crime would be used up in less sophisticated tests that would not produce a positive result.

At the end of his book, Mr Sekar wrote, ``If those tests yield no useful results the last realistic chance to unmask the real killer of Lynette White will have been lost once and for all.''

Fortunately, the police did not use up the samples, and yesterday Mr Sekar was full of praise for the way the investigation progressed following the reopening of the case in 1999.

The advances in DNA technology that made it possible to identify Lynette White's killer resulted in the police using a system trademarked as SGM Plus. This allows identification from a single human cell. SGM Plus was launched along with other improvements that have collectively been termed DNA LCN (low copy number).

The advanced technique has already been used to help solve several other unsolved murders. …

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