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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 12:22 GMT
Call for probe into Lawrence leak
Doreen Lawrence
Doreen Lawrence is said to be "extremely disturbed" by the leak
The lawyer representing the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has called for an inquiry into the release of fresh details of the investigation.

Michael Mansfield QC said the leaks might jeopardise the investigation into the 1993 race-hate killing.

Mr Mansfield said Stephen's mother Doreen had been "dismayed" by the reports in Thursday's newspapers.

Stephen, 18, was stabbed to death at a South London bus stop by a gang of five white youths in April 1993.

Daily Mail

On Thursday the Daily Mail newspaper reported that five former suspects in the race-hate murder were set to be re-arrested following new tests on fibres found on Stephen's clothing.

I think there is a possibility that someone thought: we need to offset a bad news day
Michael Mansfield QC

Scotland Yard played down reports of imminent arrests, but confirmed that a new review of forensic evidence had begun last year.

They also issued a statement that new DNA samples were being taken from individuals as a result of "a forensic opportunity" arising from the use of new technology in the Lawrence case.

Police sources subsequently told the BBC that they did not regard the leaks as "helpful", because the release of sensitive details might hinder the ongoing investigation.


Speaking on R4's Today programme Mr Mansfield said that the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith should launch an independent inquiry into the leaks - which he said may have come from within Scotland Yard.

"It is fairly basic stuff that you don't broadcast the detail of an ongoing investigation because you risk jeopardising sources and targets, " he said.

Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was murdered in an unprovoked attack in 1993

Stephen Lawrence's family had been shocked by reports, he added.

"Doreen Lawrence - and no doubt the same would go for (Stephen's father) Neville - is extremely disturbed, dismayed and angered by this kind of publicity."

Bad news day

Mr Mansfield said it was "extraordinary" that the details of the Lawrence investigation had been leaked on the same day as a critical report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the shooting of Jean Paul De Menezes.

He said: "I think there is a possibility that someone thought: we need to offset a bad news day. I have no evidence for that, but I think it is extraordinary that it happened on the very same day."

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