Stephen Lawrence detectives will not face prosecution, review finds

Four retired Met police officers involved in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation will not face criminal charges for their actions in the case, a review has concluded.

The review, by a senior lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), found there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore none of the four will be charged.

The CPS said it understood the decision not to prosecute would be “extremely disappointing” for Mr Lawrence’s family and friends and it had offered to meet close family members to explain its reasoning in detail.

The review upholds a previous decision not to prosecute.

Last year the CPS considered whether or not to charge the former officers with misconduct over the failings of the investigation.

In July 2023, it announced the three former superintendents and one former detective inspector would not face prosecution.

The decision was challenged by Mr Lawrence’s parents,  Dr Neville Lawrence and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and his friend Duwayne Brooks who was present during the attack, under the Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme.

But a fresh review has now upheld the initial verdict, representing a final decision by the CPS.

Nelson Mandela meets Dr Neville and Baroness Doreen Lawrence on May 6, 1993 (Picture: PA)

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS’s Special Crime Division, said: “An extensive review of that decision, which involved an independent prosecutor re-examining a substantial amount of evidence and material in the case, has now been completed.

“Offences of misconduct in public office were reconsidered, but the review upheld the original decision not to bring any criminal charges against the four officers in the case.”

The decision means no officers have been held criminally responsible for what is widely seen as one of Scotland Yard’s biggest disasters.

Mr Lawrence, 18, was killed by a gang of racist attackers at a bus stop in Well Hall Road, Eltham, in April 1993.

Only two of his killers – Gary Dobson and David Norris – have been jailed for his murder.

In 1999, a public inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson concluded the first murder investigation into Mr Lawrence’s murder was “marred” by a combination of “professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers”.

Arrests did not take place for two weeks despite police receiving information implicating four of the prime suspects within 24 hours of the stabbing.

On the 30th anniversary of Mr Lawrence’s murder, commissioner Sir Mark Rowley apologised for the forces “failings”.

Following today’s announcement, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward said: “I do not underestimate the impact this decision will have. I recognise the strength of feeling still felt about Stephen’s murder, the attack on Duwayne Brooks and the initial handling of the case by the police.

“Too many mistakes were made during the first investigation into his death.    

“The Met sought to learn from those early mistakes by undertaking some of the most comprehensive criminal investigations in the force’s history in pursuit of Stephen’s killers. Over the past thirty years there have been five major investigations and 17 reviews. 

“As we recently announced, a review of our recent decision-making will now be carried out, overseen by the College of Policing.”

Pictured top: Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racist attack in 1993 (Picture: The Met)

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One thought on “Stephen Lawrence detectives will not face prosecution, review finds

  • Common time to give him justice so he can rest in peace
    its about time


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