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Wednesday, April 1, 1998 Published at 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK


Youths not stopped at Lawrence murder scene
image: [ Sergeant Nigel Clement being questioned by Ian Macdonald, QC, at the inquiry ]
Sergeant Nigel Clement being questioned by Ian Macdonald, QC, at the inquiry

Several laughing youths involved in a previous racist killing drove past the spot where Stephen Lawrence died without being stopped by police, the inquiry into his death has heard.

Mr Lawrence was stabbed to death on April 22, 1993 and the inquiry at the Elephant & Castle in south London is looking into allegations that the Metropolitan Police investigation was incompetent.

The inquiry was told a car, containing five laughing and joking white youths, drove past the scene in Eltham, south east London only 15 minutes after the attack but was not stopped by police officers.

[ image: Racist youths laughed as they drove past the murder scene]
Racist youths laughed as they drove past the murder scene
Sergeant Nigel Clement took a note of part of the car's number plate and radioed it in for other officers to act on but it was not stopped.

He said: "In an ideal world that vehicle would have been stopped that night and it would have been a great deal of help to us."

But it was not until a week later that the car was stopped when Sgt Clement saw it again.

He took the name of the driver, Daniel Copley, 18, and a passenger Kieran Highland and passed on the information.

Ian Macdonald QC, acting for one of the witnesses, Duwayne Brooks, asked Sgt Clement if he realised Copley, along with another occupant of the car, Jason Goatley, 19, had been involved in a chain of events which led to the death of Rolan Adams.

Sgt Clement said he did not realise and did not know Highland was a member of Nazi Turnout, a local racist organisation.

Mr Adams died when he was stabbed in the jugular vein after a gang of 15 white youths attacked him and his 14-year-old brother Nathan in February 1991.

They had been walking home from a youth club on the Thamesmead estate in south east London.

Mark Thornburrow, 19, was jailed for life but Copley, Goatley and a 16-year-old youth were also convicted of violent disorder.

No one has been convicted for the murder of Stephen, 18, who was attacked by a gang of white youths at a bus stop.

Neil Acourt, 22, Gary Dobson, 22, and Luke Knight, 20, were cleared of Stephen's murder at the Old Bailey in 1996.

The cases of Jamie Acourt, 21, and David Norris, 21, never came to trial.

The inquiry was halted last week when counsel for the Lawrence family accused Sgt Clement of lying about the time he arrived at the scene of the murder.

On Wednesday Sgt Clement said he had responded independently when a call went out on his radio for police to attend the scene and he said his was the second police vehicle on the scene.

He agreed that a computer-aided despatch message recording suggested his vehicle had been assigned there by Scotland Yard an hour later.


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