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Thursday, October 1, 1998 Published at 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK


Parents condemn police chief's evidence

Doreen Lawrence: "Sir Paul doesn't know what racism means"

The parents of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence have condemned evidence given by Chief Commissioner Sir Paul Condon at the inquiry into their son's killing.

Outside the inquiry building in the Elephant and Castle, south London, Stephen's mother Doreen told reporters she believed the commissioner "doesn't know what racism means".

Doreen Lawrence: "I don't know how we can move forward"
She said she felt anger that in her opinion Sir Paul had not acknowledged that racism and corruption played a part in the investigation into her son's death.

She said: "I find it difficult after five years and all that has been said at the inquiry.

"I still haven't been given the answer as to why Stephen's killers are still walking free.

[ image: Neville Lawrence: My son will have died in vain]
Neville Lawrence: My son will have died in vain
"These officers seem to have used their time to investigate the family and Stephen's background.

"They did not use the time to investigate his killers."

She said she felt "patronised" by the tone the commissioner had taken, and again called on him to resign.

Neville Lawrence: "He has not accepted failures"
Stephen's father Neville said he had been "waiting patiently" to hear Sir Paul's evidence, and to discover what changes were going to be made in the force.

He added: "My son's death is going to be in vain if we do not have someone here who is going to take positive action.

[ image: Stephen Lawrence was killed by a gang of white youths]
Stephen Lawrence was killed by a gang of white youths
"We need Sir Paul to come up with a positive offer to change some of these police attitudes towards the black community.

"And we need him to stop defending these people who have done such wrong to us that sometimes we can't sleep at night."

Stephen, an 18-year-old A-level student was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths at a bus stop in Eltham, south London, in April 1993.

Reeta Chakrabarti: "Uncomfortable morning for Sir Paul"
Although five teenagers were arrested over the killing, no-one has been convicted following what Stephen's parents view as a deeply flawed investigation.

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