Steven Lawrence was murdered 0n April 22 1993 while waiting for a bus with a friend.
He was attacked and stabbed to death by a gang of white youths because he was black. The gang, filled with hatred, believed that the society they lived in would pay little attention to them stabbing Stephen to death in Eltham, London.
Initially they were proved to be right as the murder of another black teenager made little impact on the Metropolitan Police and the wider community.
The police did nothing to preserve Stephen’s life on arrival at the scene and after he died they did precious little to bring his killers to justice.
After the initial investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted.
The police ignored dozens of reports from the public and refused to conduct a serious murder enquiry.
Instead, they focused their attention on Stephen and his friend Duwayne.
Stephen’s family refused to give up on society and continued to probe, enquire and harangue the police, politicians and organisations who refused to address the racist murder of Stephen.
Stephen’s mother was relentless and she persisted when everyone else had long given up. Her dogged search for justice for her son meant that the media and the police eventually had to take the matter seriously and do their jobs.
Eventually the MET found enough evidence to convict the murderous gang.
Today, 3 January 2012, after a failed trial and 18 years, two of the heinous criminals (Gary Dobson and David Norris) were convicted of his murder. Tomorrow the judge will sentence them to life in prison.
The Lawrence family are pleased and relieved that justice has finally been delivered.
However, Mrs Lawrence is still sad but she is now able to move on to the next stage of her life and grieve for her son. She blamed the police for failing to do their job and apprehending her son’s killers sooner.
Let’s hope that the judge is the same one responsible for jailing those teenagers arrested during the London riots recently.
The death of Stephen Lawrence and the events since, such as the Macpherson inquiry, has changed Britain and attitudes to race in this country.
It has changed policing and the way society behaves towards black and ethic minorities.
Stephen’s legacy is that he helped Britain to become more egalitarian and engendered tolerance in a much diverse country.
R.I.P Stephen Lawrence
(13 September 1974 – 22 April 1993)
In 1999, an inquiry headed by Sir William Macpherson examined the original Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) investigation
and concluded that the force was “institutionally racist”.
The inquiry has been called ‘one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain’.
The report of the examination’s work and conclusions was published in 1999 as the Macpherson Report.
On 18 May 2011, it was announced that two of the original suspects, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were to stand trial for the murder in the light of “new and substantial evidence” becoming available.
A jury was selected on Monday 14 November 2011, and the trial started on 15th November.
THE STEPHEN LAWRENCE INQUIRY
INQUIRY by SIR William Macpherson of Cluny
The Right Reverend Dr John Sentamu,
Dr Richard Stone
Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State
for the Home Department by Command of Her Majesty.