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Thursday, May 28, 1998 Published at 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK


Lawrence probe officer 'met parents a year late'

Stephen Lawrene's parents: deny receiving a letter from the officer

The policeman heading the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has revealed that he did not meet the victim's parents until a year after the crime.

Det Supt Brian Weeden told the inquiry into Stephen's murder and the police investigation that he first met Neville and Doreen Lawrence on May 4, 1994.

"That was, of course, far too late to be as beneficial as an early meeting would have been," he said.

[ image: Det Supt Weeden: retired]
Det Supt Weeden: retired
Mr Weeden has already admitted that detectives failed to make early arrests in the case because he did not realise that under the law he could hold suspects as soon as he had reasonable grounds, rather than firm evidence of guilt.

A-level student Stephen was killed in a racist attack at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London in April 1993.

Mr Weeden, now retired, told the inquiry that he made efforts to see the parents in the two weeks after the murder.

"I was creating the opportunities, but they were not being taken up," he said.

When he was told by Michael Mansfield QC that the Lawrences never received a letter in which he claimed to have offered to meet them, Mr Weeden said: "That's the first I've heard of it."

He said he was told twice during the first two weeks that the family did not wish to be disturbed.

"I had made considerable approaches and efforts. I very much regret they had not been taken up," Mr Weeden said.

"I'm disturbed to learn that some information and requests were not communicated clearly."

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