LET DOWN Met Police chief apologises to Stephen Lawrence’s mum for breaking promise in bungled probe after sixth suspect revealed

THE Met Police chief has apologised to Stephen Lawrence's mum for breaking their vow after a sixth suspect emerged.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence was promised an explanation over the bungled probe into the 18-year-old's racist murder in 1993.

Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993
Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993Credit: PA
The Met have apologised to his mum Baroness Doreen Lawrence
The Met have apologised to his mum Baroness Doreen LawrenceCredit: Getty
Matthew White was revealed as a new suspect in the Stephen Lawrence murder case
Matthew White was revealed as a new suspect in the Stephen Lawrence murder case

David Norris and Gary Dobson were given life sentences for the murder in 2012 while three other suspects were not convicted.

It emerged last year police believe a sixth suspect was involved in the brutal killing in Eltham, South London.

Matthew White died in 2021 aged 50 but Scotland Yard admitted they bungled the probe into him.

Stephen's mum has since not been given an update or answered any questions despite initial correspondence with Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward, the BBC reports.Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has now issued an apology, saying: “On top of the failures over the decades this is totally unacceptable.”

Stephen was stabbed to death in April 1993 as he ran to catch a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks.

The teen's parents were forced to wait 19 years to see two men – Gary Dobson and David Norris - finally caged over the 1993 killing.

But three of the five named gang members accused of murdering Stephen were never convicted - with one living in Eltham where the killing took place and another going on the run in Spain.An investigation by the BBC found a relative of White tried to speak to cops after the murder but due to a mistake the lead was not pursued.

Two witnesses - including his stepdad - said White had admitted being present during the attackDespite this, officers did not speak to him until 20 years after the murder because they previously misidentified him.

The Met said White was arrested twice but on both occasions there was not enough evidence for a prosecution.

Baroness Lawrence told the BBC: "He's probably the key one who probably caused Stephen's murder, and they [the Met] did nothing about it.

"I'm not sure what they're hiding behind, why they can't come and tell me exactly what they knew then."

Timeline of Stephen's murder

April 1993 - Stephen Lawrence is stabbed to death in an unprovoked racist attack by a gang of white youths as he waits at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, with his friend Duwayne Brooks. Brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, Gary Dobson, and David Norris are identified as suspects through police tip-offs.

May 1993 - Stephen's family hold a press conference saying not enough has been done to catch his killers.

June 1993 - The Acourt brothers, Dobson, Norris, and another suspect, Luke Knight, are arrested.  Neil Acourt and Knight are picked from an ID parade by Duwayne and charged with murder - which they deny.

July 1993 - Charges are dropped against the pair as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says the evidence is unreliable. A Detective Sergeant says Duwayne told him he was unsure of those he picked - which he denies saying.

April 1994 - CPS says new evidence is still insufficient to support murder charges.

September 1994 -Stephen's parents begin a private prosecution.

April 1996 - The prosecution of Neil Acourt, Knight and Dobson is held at the Old Bailey but the trial collapses as the judge rules the identification evidence is inadmissible. The three are acquitted meaning they can't be tried again.

February 1997 - The Lawrences slam the cops handling of the investigation and go to the Police Complaints Authority. The Daily Mail publishes a front page headlined 'Murderers' and pictured two Acourt brothers, Norris, Knight, and Dobson.

December 1997 - A Police Complaints Authority report on the original police investigation of Lawrence’s murder identifies “significant weaknesses, omissions and lost opportunities”. It says there is no evidence of racist conduct by police.

July 1998 - Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon makes an apology, saying: “I am truly sorry that we let you down.”

February 1999 - The Macpherson report finds the police guilty of mistakes and “institutional racism” and makes 70 recommendations on changes to policing and wider public policy. 

September 2002 - Norris and Neil Acourt are jailed for 18 months for a racist attack on off-duty black policeman Gareth Reid the year prior.

April 2005 - The double jeopardy legal principle, preventing suspects being tried twice for the same crime, is scrapped for certain offences when there is new evidence.

May 2011 - The court of appeal agrees that Dobson’s 1996 acquittal for the murder can be quashed in the face of new forensic evidence.

November 2011 - The trial of Dobson and Norris for Lawrence’s murder begins at the Old Bailey. 

January 2012 - Dobson and Norris are found guilty of murder, 18 years after the event. The new evidence includes a blood spot on Dobson’s jacket.

October 2015 - The National Crime Agency announces the Metropolitan police are being investigated for alleged corruption in the initial 1993 murder investigation.

April 2018 - Scotland Yard admits it has no new lines of inquiry in the investigation into Stephen Lawrence’s murder. 

June 2023 - Police name new suspect in killing as Matthew White, who died in 2021

April 2024 - Met chief Sir Mark Rowley apologises to Stephen's mum for not answering any questions or providing an update into the bungled White probe

Sir Mark said: “We recognise this is a particularly difficult time for the Lawrence family and Duwayne Brooks. I am sorry our failure to respond in a timely fashion has added to this.

“On top of the failures over the decades this is totally unacceptable.

“Restoring trust in the Met is one of my top priorities and that includes how we work with those affected by the failures of the past.

“I apologise to Baroness Lawrence who must have answers to all her questions. I have written to her and offered to meet.”

Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said it was "totally unacceptable"
Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said it was "totally unacceptable"Credit: PA
David Norris and Gary Dobson were given life sentences for the murder in 2012
David Norris and Gary Dobson were given life sentences for the murder in 2012

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.