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Tuesday, May 26, 1998 Published at 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK



UK

Lawrence's family 'hindered murder probe'
image: [ Stephen Lawrence was murdered at this bus stop on April 22, 1993 ]
Stephen Lawrence was murdered at this bus stop on April 22, 1993

The detective in charge of the police investigation into the racist murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence has accused the bereaved family and their legal team of hindering their investigations.

Detective Superintendent Brian Weeden and two senior colleagues submitted a written statement to the public inquiry into Scotland Yard's handling of the case, accusing solicitor Imran Khan of a "confrontational" attitude.

The statement claimed Mr Khan "caused very real disruption", forcing a senior officer to write to him asking him to address his enquiries to police liaison officers, and not to DS Weeden.

The officers accused Mr Khan of "open opposition to the normal lines of family liaison which have been tried and tested in countless murders".

Lawrence family accused

Giving evidence to the reconvened inquiry, DS Weeden also said he had been let down by the Lawrence family, who snubbed written and verbal requests to meet him.


[ image: Stephen's parents have accused investigating officers of racism]
Stephen's parents have accused investigating officers of racism
"I was surprised and a little disappointed," said DS Weeden, who took over the investigation four days after Stephen was murdered at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London in April 1993.

Earlier the inquiry heard evidence from the officer who led the investigation for the first few days.

Detective Superintendent Iain Crampton mounted a strong defence of his actions, claiming he believed he had been "put in the dock".

The Lawrence family has questioned police actions in the aftermath of the murder, and made allegations of racism and corruption among officers investigating their son's death.


The BBC's Penny Wrout analyses the evidence with George Edmonds of Greater London Radio (2'14")
But that brought a sharp rebuke from DS Crampton: "The allegations that have been made against me here are totally unfounded," he told the inquiry, at Elephant and Castle, south London.

"I feel very strongly that I have been put in the dock and the result of that is that I feel I have come over unsympathetically to Mr and Mrs Lawrence, which I am not.

"I am not corrupt, and I have not been corrupt in this case," he told the chairman of the inquiry, Sir William Macpherson Cluny.

No crime log

He also explained why he had not made any arrests in the days immediately after Stephen was stabbed to death.

DS Crampton said he had been advised by forensic experts that the five layers of clothing Stephen was wearing would have wiped the murder weapon virtually clean of blood, destroying valuable forensic evidence.

He said that meant there was no need for him to make immediate arrests to try and get hold of the murder weapon.

The police have also been criticised for not keeping a scene of crime log, but DS Crampton told the inquiry he had not visited the murder scene until three hours after the killing. This was the first time he discovered no log had been kept.

Although the detective conceded it was a mistake not to have started the log, he insisted that to have started it three hours after the event would have led to inaccuracies.

DS Crampton denied suggestions by the Lawrence family that he had not treated the murder as a racist killing, saying at a press conference the next day that he had described the incident as racially motivated.

The inquiry is continuing.


 





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