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Tuesday, June 2, 1998 Published at 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK


'I'm not corrupt' says Lawrence detective

An artist's impression of the hearing

The senior detective who supervised the investigation into the murder of the black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, has denied being corrupt.

BBC correspondent David Sillito reports that Mr Ilsley admitted there were "significant deficiencies" in the investigation
Detective Chief Superintendent William Ilsley made the comment at the inquiry into the killing which happened at a bus stop in Eltham, South London in April 1993.

Mr Ilsley, who is now retired, responded angrily to suggestions that he failed to promptly use a tip-off about the murder from an informant.

The informant, known as James Grant, told police about an eye-witness to the stabbing on the day after the attack.

The inquiry, which was set up to examine the failure to secure any convictions in the case, heard that Mr Ilsley had failed to approve a request to pay Grant £50 for his information.

Michael Mansfield QC, acting on behalf of the Lawrence family, also said the first arrests were not made until two weeks after the murder, despite an early and steady stream of tip-offs from the public naming a group of five key suspects.

Furious denial

Mr Mansfield told Mr Ilsley: "I'm going to suggest there is only one inference because of your lack of action and information, Mr Ilsley."

[ image: Stephen Lawrence: killers have gone unpunished]
Stephen Lawrence: killers have gone unpunished
The former policeman raised his voice as he replied: "What are you saying sir? Are you saying I am corrupt?"

Mr Ilsley later asked Mr Mansfield: "Do you honestly believe that we didn't want to have these people found guilty of murder?

"Do you honestly believe that we would take money so that people would get away with the most evil murder that could have happened?"

'Disgraceful' lack of police staff

Mr Ilsley also supported claims by other officers that the failure to secure a conviction was partially due to a lack of police resources and staff in a busy urban area with high crime rates.

[ image: Michael Mansfield: angry exhanges in the inquiry]
Michael Mansfield: angry exhanges in the inquiry
Under questioning from Edmund Lawson QC, for the inquiry, he described the shortage of staff as "disgraceful".

He said said he had repeatedly told his superior officers there were not enough police to deal with the high number of local murders.

In one year there were 43 murders in the area, an all-time record for any Metropolitan Police Division, he added.

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