London

Stephen Lawrence murder: Met refuses Cdr Richard Walton action

  • 20 January 2016
  • From the section London
Stephen Lawrence
Image caption Stephen Lawrence was 18 when was he was killed in a racially-motivated attack

The Met has refused to take action against its head of counter-terrorism amid claims of "discreditable conduct" over the Stephen Lawrence murder case.

The IPCC found Cdr Richard Walton met an undercover officer in 1998 which could have undermined an inquiry into possible corruption in the case.

The watchdog said the commander had a "case to answer" for misconduct but the Met disagreed - on the day he retired.

The Met Police said it would be "inappropriate" to discuss the case.

Stephen's father Neville Lawrence has urged the force to halt Cdr Walton's retirement.

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

The IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) investigation followed the publication in March 2014 of a review by Mark Ellison QC into possible corruption and undercover policing linked to the Stephen Lawrence investigation.

'Inconsistent accounts'

The Ellison Review revealed an undercover officer held a meeting with Cdr Walton, who was responsible for making submissions to the Macpherson Inquiry which looked into failures in the investigation.

Mr Walton is alleged to have "obtained information pertaining to the Lawrence family and their supporters, potentially undermining the (Macpherson) inquiry and public confidence" and gave inconsistent accounts to Mr Ellison's review team.

The IPCC's review concluded his actions did not amount to gross misconduct but he did have a case to answer for misconduct - which can lead to a final written warning.

But the Met disagreed and as Mr Walton retired from the police on Wednesday, the IPCC cannot challenge the force's decision.

New Home Office measures prevent officers under investigation for gross misconduct resigning or retiring until the case has concluded but that did not apply to Cdr Walton, who could have been stopped from leaving had he been suspended but was not.

'Disappointing'

Neville Lawrence's legal team said the findings "provide enough justification that it is in the public interest to suspend Commander Walton immediately".

It added: "There is a strong public interest in ensuring any disciplinary sanctions are followed through, in order that the police are seen to be held accountable for their actions."

Cdr Walton said he had told the IPCC about his retirement and it was "disappointing" the watchdog had taken nearly two years to conclude its report.

He said: "I have been intending to retire from policing on this date for 30 years... so it is unfortunate it has taken so long for them to complete their report."

The IPCC is yet to comment.

The Met Police said it would be inappropriate to discuss the findings of the report until the IPCC's process had concluded.

In 2012, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of murdering Stephen.

They were sentenced to minimum terms of 15 years and two months and 14 years and three months respectively.

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