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Sir John Stevens, Commissioner of Met Police
says he knows who kiiled Stephen Lawrence
 real 28k

Michael Mansfield QC, the Lawrence family barrister
"The family... would clearly wish the police to act as swiftly as possible"
 real 28k

Conservative MP Peter Bottomley
"I welcome his straightforward answer"
 real 28k

Friday, 27 July, 2001, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Police chief 'knows' Lawrence killer
Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in 1993
The Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir John Stevens has told the BBC he knows who killed Stephen Lawrence.

The force continues to be heavily criticised for its investigation of the murder of the black teenager, stabbed to death in south-east London eight years ago.

Speaking on Radio 5 Live's Nicky Campbell programme, Sir John said he would do everything he could to ensure the culprits were brought before the courts.

But Duwayne Brooks, the friend of Stephen Lawrence who saw him murdered, confronted Sir John on air when he asked him why the police were wasting money on an inquiry where no-one would be charged.

Sir John Stevens was asked directly on the programme whether he knew who killed Stephen Lawrence.

Without hesitation he replied "yes".

Original suspects

Asked whether he was "100% sure", Sir John said: "We're pretty certain".

Sir John Stevens
Sir John Stevens said he was "pretty certain" he knew who was responsible
He did not say whether the people he believed were responsible were the five suspects originally identified by the police.

Three of them were later cleared, and under current law cannot stand trial for the crime again. But the case led for calls for the double jeopardy rule to be scrapped and plans for change were included in this year's Queens Speech.

It remains possible that the measure could be made retrospective.

'Waste of money'

Mr Brooks telephoned in to say it was a "waste of taxpayers' money" as no-one would ever be charged.

Duwayne Brooks
Duwayne Brooks: Challenged police on Lawrence inquiry
But Sir John said: "John Grieve, who is heading up the investigation, would not pursue these avenues of inquiry unless he thought they were going to get a result.

"We owe it to you and to the Lawrence family."

The Commissioner said that there are many cases coming before juries which, due to advances in forensics and other techniques, could not have been considered in previous years.

Sir John said every avenue was being explored to bring the killer to justice.

And he said police would never give up while there was hope that the killer could be put before the courts.

The Lawrence murder remains a thorny issue for Scotland Yard, with the Macpherson Report into it identifying "institutional racism" in the police.

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See also:

20 Jun 01 | UK Politics
End to 'double jeopardy' planned
20 Oct 00 | UK
Lawrences to 'fight on'
14 Oct 00 | UK
Lawrence payout 'excessive'
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