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Wednesday, June 3, 1998 Published at 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK


Relative took part in Lawrence ID parade

An artist's impression of the courtroom

A senior police officer who investigated the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence has admitted the case is "a catalogue of misfortune".

He was speaking as the public inquiry into the murder and police investigation heard that a relative of three of the suspects fooled police into letting him take part in a identity parade.

Former Detective Superintendent William Ilsley admitted that a member of the Stewart family, related to suspects Neil and Jamie Acourt, and to David Norris, gave a false name before being allowed to take part in the parade.

[ image: Stephen Lawrence was killed at a London bus stop]
Stephen Lawrence was killed at a London bus stop
Mr Michael Mansfield, QC, representing the Lawrence family, said: "One of the Stewarts under a false name had the effrontery to turn up to the ID parade."

He asked Mr Ilsley: "How was it that one of the Stewarts under another name got on to the ID parade?"

Mr Ilsley replied: "I have not the faintest idea."

And the former senior detective agreed when Mr Mansfield said: "There is a catalogue of misfortune in this case."

But Mr Ilsley has attributed the mistakes in the police's investigation to underfunding and understaffing.

Earlier during the hearing at Elephant and Castle, south London, Mr Mansfield accused Mr Ilsley of failing to make vital connections between named suspects and members of a notorious criminal family.

The five suspects, David Norris, 21, Neil Acourt, 22, Jamie Acourt, 21, Luke Knight, 20, and Gary Dobson, 22, will appear at the inquiry to give evidence on Monday June 15.

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