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Friday, July 9, 1999 Published at 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK


Lawrence parents divorce

Mr and Mrs Lawrence are suing police and suspects

The parents of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager who was murdered in 1993, have divorced.

Stephen Lawrence case: Timeline of events

The couple always presented a united public front as they fought for justice for their 18-year-old son, who was stabbed in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, south-east London.

But in a written statement, Doreen Lawrence said she had felt "alone and unsupported" in her 28-year-old marriage to Neville Lawrence.

"I would like people to understand that the divorce is not due to any pressure from the death of my son or the legal proceedings that we embarked upon in the last six years," she said.

'Hope for the future'

No one was convicted of the murder, despite Mr and Mrs Lawrence bringing a private prosecution against five white youths in 1996. After the prosecution was thrown out, Mr Lawrence went to Jamaica for six months to recover.

Last year's public inquiry into the police handling of the case, which is widely seen as a watershed for UK race relations, resulted in a damning report. It made sweeping recommendations aimed at improving racial equality.

Mrs Lawrence said: "The most difficult year of my personal life since the death of my son was at the inquest which I had to face alone.

"I have not sought fame or notoriety. All I have ever wanted was justice for my son. I hope that as a result of what I have been through there will be a legacy for the nation. Stephen's legacy will be hope for the future."

[ image: Stephen Lawrence: Killed six years ago]
Stephen Lawrence: Killed six years ago
Mr and Mrs Lawrence emigrated separately from Jamaica in the 1960s. When they met in London, he was working as a tailor and she was a machinist.

They married at Lewisham Register Office in 1970 and set up home in a flat in Plumstead, south-east London.

Mrs Lawrence is now a university student welfare officer.

She says she now hopes for a "peaceful future" with her remaining children - Stuart, 21, and Georgina, 16.

Mr Lawrence later worked as a painter and decorator but is currently unemployed. He spends much of his time campaigning against racism.

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