Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 12:19 UK

Policeman tampered with Stephen Lawrence evidence

Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in Eltham in 1993

A police officer has been demoted for trying to sabotage evidence connected with the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

Met detective Paul Steed, 49, tampered with key times and dates on an evidence log, it was confirmed.

A Met spokesman said a misconduct board demoted a detective from the rank of sergeant to constable and fined him.

Stephen, 18, was stabbed to death by a racist gang at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993. The investigation is ongoing.

Private prosecution

Five men - Neil Acourt, his brother Jamie, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight - were the the prime suspects in the Lawrence case.

Three were acquitted of murder after a private prosecution brought by the Lawrence family collapsed at the Old Bailey in 1996.

A Kent Police inquiry took place into the case in 1997, followed by the Macpherson Report in 1999, which found evidence of "pernicious and institutionalised racism" in the Metropolitan Police.

A small team of Scotland Yard detectives continues to investigate the case.

It is understood that Det Con Steed, of Greenhithe, Kent, was investigated amid claims he was suspected of acting out of spite after being told he would be taken off the inquiry.

The Met spokesman said: "An officer attended a misconduct board at which two breaches of conduct codes, lawful orders and performance of duties, were found proven.

"Fortunately the actions of this officer have not had any long-term impact on the review of the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation."

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