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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Met chief faces Lawrence quizzing
Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was attacked at a bus stop in 1993

Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair is expected to respond to fresh claims over the inquiry into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

A BBC documentary alleged corruption by the investigation's Det Sgt John Davidson, which the ex-officer denies.

The Lawrence family have welcomed the prospect of a fresh probe and have asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission to look into the claims.

Sir Ian will be questioned by members of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

MPA chairman Len Duvall said he had "serious concerns" about the corruption allegations.

"This case is not closed and if new information comes to light the MPA's expectation is that the Metropolitan Police Service will carry out a full investigation," he said.

The IPCC has asked the Metropolitan Police to look into the latest claims before it can carry out any investigation.

Neville Lawrence, whose son was stabbed in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993, said: "We've always thought that there was something to do with corruption."

The programme alleges that Mr Davidson was paid by drug smuggler Clifford Norris, father of suspect David Norris.

Mr Lawrence, who hopes the case can be re-opened, said corruption was not considered in the earlier inquiry into the killing.

It's taken us all this time to actually get here
Doreen Lawrence

"When they had the inquiry into Stephen's death, that wasn't in the remit so they didn't really get to look at it, so we were really disappointed," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"I'm really pleased that this programme is actually showing some kind of proof that there was something like corruption that was more or less responsible for the case not being solved."

Mother Doreen Lawrence said: "I'm hoping that the IPCC will prove that they are independent, and so they investigate the corruption like how it should have been done a long time ago.

"It's taken us all this time to actually get here and to the fact that we knew that there was corruption all along but just couldn't prove it."

Home Secretary John Reid said he was sure the police would address any new issues raised by the documentary.

"The murder of Stephen Lawrence was a terrible, terrible crime and it remains a source of extreme frustration for everyone, but particularly Stephen's family, that the perpetrators have not been brought to justice," he told the BBC.

BBC investigation

Neil Acourt, his brother Jamie, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight, were arrested but nobody has ever been convicted.

The Crown Prosecution Service says there is not enough evidence against them.

A second police investigation revealed them to be a gang of racists with an obsession with knives.

The original Metropolitan Police investigation which followed Stephen's death led to the Macpherson Inquiry which found the force was guilty of "institutional racism".

Neil Putnam
Davidson told me that he was looking after Norris and that to me meant that he was protecting him, protecting his family against arrest and any conviction
Neil Putnam
Whistleblower

Neil Putnam - a former corrupt police detective turned whistleblower - has told a BBC investigation to be screened on Wednesday night that Clifford Norris was paying Mr Davidson to obstruct the case and to protect the suspects.

"Davidson told me that he was looking after Norris and that to me meant that he was protecting him, protecting his family against arrest and any conviction," Mr Putnam said.

Police said they had not been aware of Mr Davidson's alleged relationship with Mr Norris.

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who was given the task of ridding the force of corruption, admitted he thought Mr Davidson was corrupt.

Police say they will open up a special incident room following the investigation by BBC reporter Mark Daly.

The Boys Who Killed Stephen Lawrence was shown on 26 July on BBC One.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch excerpts of the BBC documentary



SEE ALSO
Lawrence police 'missed chance'
24 Jul 06 |  London
The Lawrence inquiry
25 Mar 99 |  Stephen Lawrence

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