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Wednesday, February 24, 1999 Published at 19:27 GMT


Lawrence mother: Nothing's changed

Mrs Lawrence: "We have had to fight for everything"

Click here to read Sir William Macpherson's full report on the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has said the police investigated her son's killing like "white masters during slavery".

Doreen Lawrence was speaking during a news conference at the Home Office.

Sitting at a table with her husband Neville, she gave a cautious welcome to Sir William Macpherson's report.

Peter Hunt: "The cold facts remain"
She said the report should mark a watershed but that it had only "scratched the surface".

"What I see is that black people are still dying on the streets and in the back of police vans," she said.

[ image:  ]
"I believe black youngsters will never be safe on the streets. Nothing has changed."

Mr Lawrence was more positive about the findings but called for actions to follow the report's words.

He said something needed to be done "in the name of my son".

His wife spoke first and outlined where she thought the report had gone wrong and what had to be done.


She complained that neither the report nor the Home Secretary Jack Straw were planning to change police "stop-and-search" powers.

Mr Straw had earlier promised to make sure the existing law was used more fairly.

But Mrs Lawrence said: "I would like to know how he is going to do this. How is he going to ensure that police on the streets are not going to abuse those who they have stopped?

"It is a tall order and I hope he can accomplish this."

[ image:  ]
She also rejected criticism in the report of some of her family's actions over the past six years.

"The inquiry, like so many, has failed to grasp what we did for example with the private prosecution," she said.

"Because we had no other alternative, no-one would do anything to bring our son's killers to justice.

"We have had to fight for everything we have had in the last six years."

Mrs Lawrence hoped that measures designed to educate young people against racism would be taken up.

"If those who had murdered my son had been better educated in knowing who had helped to build this society in which we live, they would have realised that everything in this country has seen black people play a part."

She said that included the NHS and the transport system: "You name it and we have been a part of it.

"We have more than earned our place to live and not to have our children killed."

[ image: Mr Lawrence: Call for action in his son's name]
Mr Lawrence: Call for action in his son's name
Mr Lawrence began by thanking the campaign team who had spent five years calling for justice.

"Without their support we wouldn't be here today," he said.

He was also grateful to Mr Straw for ordering the inquiry but admitted that only "a small amount" of what he had wanted to see was present in the report.

"We need to take what we have got and try and go forward and do something about the problems we have got," he said.

"For the very first time people are now aware of the situation and we hope that people will now use this opportunity to go forward and try and do some good in the name of my son."

Mr Lawrence refused to comment on reports that he was planning to sue the Metropolitan Police over his son's death.

Family solicitor Imran Khan said: "That is yet to be seen. I have not yet seen the reports but for the moment that is yet to be seen."

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24 Feb 99 | UK
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