UK

Stephen Lawrence case: Who's who?

A judge-led public inquiry into undercover policing has been launched after a review of the Stephen Lawrence investigation found Met Police officers had spied on the murdered teenager's family.

The findings of the report by Mark Ellison QC - who successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris in 2012 for Stephen's murder - had damaged the police, Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, current head of the Met Police, has said he must ensure trust in the force is restored.

Who are the key people involved in the case? Use the guide below to find out.

INTERACTIVE
  • Stephen Lawrence

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    Murder victim

    Stephen Lawrence

    Stephen Lawrence, 18, was murdered on 22 April 1993. He was waiting for a bus in Eltham, south-east London, with his friend Duwayne Brooks when a group of white men of similar age attacked him. One was heard to say "what what nigger" before a knife was plunged twice into the teenager, severing two arteries. He had done nothing to provoke his attackers. At the time of his death, Stephen was taking his A-levels and planned to study architecture at university.

  • Neville Lawrence

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    Stephen’s father

    Neville Lawrence

    Neville Lawrence, a carpenter, upholsterer, tailor and plasterer who had emigrated to the UK from Jamaica in the 1960s, was living with his wife Doreen and their three children in Plumstead, south-east London when his eldest son Stephen was murdered. Mr Lawrence and his then wife, Doreen, spent many years campaigning for justice for their son believing the police investigation had been inadequate. Events took their toll on their marriage and Mr Lawrence returned to live in Jamaica. The couple divorced in 1999. Following the announcement of a new public inquiry into undercover policing, Mr Lawrence said he still feared that the full truth about the police investigation into his son’s death would not emerge.

  • Baroness Lawrence

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    Stephen’s mother

    Baroness Lawrence

    Doreen Lawrence was living with her husband Neville and their three children in south-east London when her eldest son Stephen was murdered. Having emigrated from Jamaica as a child, she began a family in the UK after marrying Neville in 1972. Alongside her husband, she campaigned tirelessly for justice for her murdered son. In 1998, she set up the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which gives bursaries to young people who want to become architects. Mrs Lawrence was created a life peer in 2013 and she sits on the Labour benches as a working peer.

  • Duwayne Brooks

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    Stephen’s friend

    Duwayne Brooks

    Duwayne Brooks was with school friend Stephen Lawrence when he was murdered. The pair were rushing to catch a bus in the south-east London suburb of Eltham when they were confronted by a gang of white youths. Mr Brooks managed to escape and went on to give crucial information to the police investigation and subsequent inquiry into it. However, as a result of what he experienced, Mr Brooks suffered post-traumatic stress disorder for many years. He went on to become a Lib Dem councillor in the London Borough of Lewisham and in May 2014 he is standing as the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of Lewisham.

  • David Norris

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    One of Stephen’s killers

    David Norris

    David Norris, along with fellow killer Gary Dobson, was found guilty in 2012 of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. A reputation as local aggressors in the 1990s, meant Dobson, Norris and their friends were prime suspects soon after Stephen’s death in 1998. However, a public and subsequent private prosecution against the men collapsed and no convictions were made. The Macpherson Inquiry into the police investigation of the murder stated that the influence or fear of Norris’s father, Clifford, a convicted drug smuggler, had infected the investigation, in that young people in possession of information held back. However, in 2012, 19 years after Stephen’s murder, Dobson and Norris were found guilty of murder and sentenced to minimum terms of 15 years and two months and 14 years and three months respectively.

  • Gary Dobson

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    One of Stephen’s killers

    Gary Dobson

    Gary Dobson, along with fellow killer David Norris, was found guilty in 2012 of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Some 17 years after Stephen’s death, Dobson and Norris were arrested and charged with murder, following the Court of Appeal’s decision that fresh forensic evidence warranted a trial. Dobson and Norris were found guilty two years later and sentenced to minimum terms of 15 years and two months and 14 years and three months respectively.

  • Neil Acourt

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    Acquitted of murder

    Neil Acourt

    A month after Stephen Lawrence’s death in 1993, brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt and Luke Knight were arrested alongside Gary Dobson and David Norris. Three years later Neil Acourt, Mr Knight and Dobson were charged with murder but were acquitted after the Crown Prosecution Service decided evidence was unreliable. Furious with the police failures, the Lawrence family decided to go it alone with a private prosecution but the case failed in 1996. Neil Acourt, Luke Knight and Dobson were formally acquitted. New evidence then saw Norris and Dobson convicted of Stephen’s murder in 2012.

  • Jamie Acourt

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    Acquitted of murder

    Jamie Acourt

    The brother of Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt was also acquitted of Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

  • Luke Knight

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    Acquitted of murder

    Luke Knight

    Luke Knight, alongside brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, was acquitted of Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

  • Sir Paul Condon

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    Former Met Commissioner

    Sir Paul Condon

    Sir Paul Condon was the Met Police Commissioner between 1993 and 2000 - the time of the original investigation into Stephen Lawrence’s murder and the subsequent public Macpherson Inquiry into its failings. It was also during Sir Paul’s time that an undercover police officer infiltrated the Lawrence family to spy on them. However, he says he did not authorise or know of "any action by any undercover officer". "Had I known I would have stopped this action immediately," he said.

  • Sir John Stevens

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    Former Met Commissioner

    Sir John Stevens

    Sir John Stevens took control of the Met in 2000 soon after the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry branded it "institutionally racist". He was also deputy commissioner at the time of Stephen’s murder. At the time of the Macpherson Inquiry, according to the review by Mark Ellison QC, he was communicating with the inquiry over corruption allegations. On 12 June 1998, he, wrote to the secretary to the inquiry, confirming that no police officer or former officer was under investigation for corruption.

  • Det Sgt John Davidson

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    Investigating officer

    The review by Mark Ellison QC found grounds to suspect Det Sgt John Davidson of corruption. He was one of the officers who investigated the Stephen Lawrence murder. The report said this evidence "should have been revealed" to the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry. The review also stated that although there was no evidence of corruption by other officers, there were lines of inquiry which may uncover other cases. Det Sgt Davidson has previously denied corruption allegations.

  • N18

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    Police ‘spy’

    A spy - working for the Met Police’s controversial undercover Special Demonstration Squad - worked within the "Lawrence family camp" during the Macpherson inquiry, the Ellison review found. The spy - referred to as N81 - was found to have met acting Det Insp Richard Walton who had been seconded to the Met’s Lawrence review team, responsible for making submissions to the Macpherson Inquiry. This meeting was "a completely improper use" of intelligence and information on undercover policing had been withheld from the Macpherson inquiry, the Ellison review said.

  • Sir William Macpherson

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    Retired High Court judge

    Sir William Macpherson

    The 1999 Macpherson Inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence - led by the now retired High Court judge Sir William Macpherson - accused the Met of being institutionally racist, but concluded that police corruption had not thwarted the case. The Lawrence family have always disputed its conclusion and the Ellison report is seen by many as a vindication of their campaign.

  • Mark Ellison QC

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    Ellison review author

    The home secretary asked Mark Ellison QC to lead an independent review of allegations of corruption in the original police investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the role of undercover policing in the case. His report found that an undercover Met Police officer worked within the "Lawrence family camp" while an inquiry into the handling of the murder was under way. It also found there were reasonable grounds to suspect at least one detective on the team was corrupt. This lead Home Secretary Theresa May to announce a new public inquiry into undercover policing.

  • Clifford Norris

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    Killer David Norris’s father

    Clifford Norris is David Norris’s father. He is himself a convicted drug smuggler and was on the run in 1993 at the time of Stephen Lawrence’s murder. He later served an eight-year prison term for drugs and firearms offences. The Ellison Report found grounds to suspect one of the detectives on the original Lawrence murder investigation, Det Sgt John Davidson, was in a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris. There was a high level of suspicion that the former officer was corrupt both before and after he worked on the police investigation, the report said.

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