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Sunday, December 14, 1997 Published at 23:33 GMT



UK

Lawrence murder inquiry report released
image: [ The case of Stephen Lawrence has raised questions of racism within the police ranks ]
The case of Stephen Lawrence has raised questions of racism within the police ranks

The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, is publishing the results of an internal police inquiry into the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence.


[ image: Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993]
Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993
Mr Lawrence's family believes that racial prejudice influenced the Metropolitan Police's attitude in their investigation of the killing.

The 18-year-old was murdered at a bus stop in Eltham, southeast London.

While the report is not believed to uphold the family's claims, it is expected to criticise the police's early response to the crime.

The Lawrences say that they were treated as the criminals - not the victims - and that the police seemed more intent to investigate Stephen for gang affiliation than solve his murder.

The police made 1,000 house-to-house inquiries and conducted 2,500 interviews but were unable to turn up any reliable witnesses.


[ image: Hundreds laid flowers in honour of Stephen]
Hundreds laid flowers in honour of Stephen
Last year the Lawrence family brought an unsuccessful private prosecution against five white youths over the murder.

In February, an inquest found the student was unlawfully killed in an "unprovoked racist attack" by five white youths.

The family's solicitor says that the case is surrounded by a wall of silence.

Breaking that silence is the job of the inquiry headed by Sir William Macpherson of Cluy. Sir William's commission will use Monday's report as one of its chief pieces of evidence in its investigation.

The commission will have broad powers including forcing witnesses to come forward and protecting them from prosecution.

Although Sir William's inquiry was formed to look into the Lawrence murder, the high profile of the case has broadened its scope to the larger question of racism within the ranks of the Metropolitan police.








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