Stephen Lawrence murder: Brother wants role in inquiry

Stuart Lawrence: "I'm a bit sceptical and reserved about apologies... I want to see something done"

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Stephen Lawrence's brother has said he should take part in the probe ordered by the home secretary after revelations that police spied on his family following Stephen's murder.

Stuart Lawrence said his being on the panel would ensure "the job is done".

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he "fully supports" calls from the Lawrence family for "decisive action".

He said the Metropolitan Police would share "everything with that inquiry and other investigations".

Sir Bernard's comments followed remarks by Stephen's mother, Baroness Lawrence, who wrote to him describing revelations of the spying as a "devastating blow" and urging him to take action.

The revelations were contained in a report by Mark Ellison QC, which found an undercover officer had passed on personal details concerning the Lawrence family, such as comments on the separation of Stephen's parents.

The report also found documents from the Met's own corruption investigation had been subject to a "mass shredding".

In response, Sir Bernard said: "I want to assure Baroness Lawrence and Mr Lawrence, and the public, right now of my determination to act.

"Under my leadership, the Metropolitan Police will do all it can to redeem ourselves in their eyes. We will continue to seek to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of their son."

'Sceptical'

Sir Bernard will reply privately to Baroness Lawrence's letter, which he has not yet seen, a Met spokesman said.

Sir Bernard said: "I fully support the public inquiry announced by the home secretary on Thursday.

"I undertake to ensure that the Metropolitan Police shares everything with that inquiry and other investigations.

Stephen Lawrence murder

Stephen Lawrence

Black teenager Stephen Lawrence, 18, was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993.

A number of suspects were identified soon after the attack but it took more than 18 years to bring his killers to justice.

Several attempts to prosecute the suspects, including a private prosecution by the family, failed owing to unreliable or insufficient evidence.

In 1997, then Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered a public inquiry into the killing and its aftermath after concerns about the way the police had handled the case.

Sir William Macpherson, a retired High Court judge, led the inquiry. He accused the police of institutional racism and found a number of failings in how they had investigated the murder.

In January 2012, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of the murder by an Old Bailey jury after a review of the forensic evidence.

"The Metropolitan Police will not regain lost trust without honesty, openness and transparency."

Sir Bernard has instructed the force's professional standards team to investigate where action should be taken against individual officers.

He also plans to seek changes to employment laws to "help recruit a Metropolitan Police Service that looks and feels like London".

Commenting on the planned inquiry, Stuart Lawrence said: "I reserve judgement until I hear who he [Sir Bernard] has tried to employ to try to do this job and I wouldn't mind being part of the team myself to ensure the job is done.

"I'm a bit sceptical and reserved about apologies if that's all they are because they are just words.

"I want to see something done," he added.

Stephen Lawrence was 18 when he was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993.

However, it was not until 2012 that Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of murdering him and sentenced to minimum terms of 15 years and two months and 14 years and three months respectively.

Duty of disclosure

On Thursday, Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs the findings in the Ellison report had damaged the police and ordered a public inquiry.

The Ellison report found a Special Demonstration Squad "spy" had worked within the "Lawrence family camp" during the Macpherson Inquiry, conducted in the late 1990s to look at the way police investigated Stephen's murder.

It also found that the Met's own hard copy records of a broad investigation into possible corruption had been subject to a "mass shredding" in 2003.

It warned that the "chaotic state" of the force's records meant that a public inquiry might have "limited" potential to find out more information.

Baroness Lawrence has asked for a personal undertaking from Sir Bernard that he and the Met Police "will fully co-operate with the continuing enquiries the home secretary referred to in her oral statement to the House of Commons as well as the judge-led public inquiry she has ordered".

The letter asked Sir Bernard to release all material in his possession or control to the inquiries, and to be "transparent and honest" in his duty of disclosure.

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