Stephen Lawrence Day to be held annually

  • Published
Stephen LawrenceImage source, AFP

A national day of commemoration for murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence will take place on 22 April every year, the prime minister has said.

It came as the family of the black teenager attended the 25th anniversary memorial of his death in London.

The 18-year-old was stabbed to death in a racially motivated attack in Eltham, south London, in 1993.

Royal couple Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended the service at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that Stephen's mother Doreen - now a peer in the Lords - and his father Neville "have fought heroically to ensure that their son's life and death will never be forgotten".

Mr Lawrence was set upon by a gang, stabbed and left to die in Eltham on the evening of 22 April 1993.

Two of the group of up to six men who attacked the teenager and his friend Duwayne Brooks have been convicted of murder, but the rest have evaded justice.

David Norris and Gary Dobson are both serving life sentences.

The Macpherson Report into the investigation into Stephen Lawrence's death found that there had been "institutional racism" in the police.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also attended the memorial.

Mrs May said: "It is right that Stephen's name and legacy lives on."

Media caption,
Harry and Meghan met Stuart and Doreen Lawrence before the service
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Baroness Lawrence, Stephen's mother, with Prime Minister Theresa May

Baroness Lawrence said she looked forward to delivering the first Stephen Lawrence Day in 2019 alongside the government, adding: "I feel honoured she has recognised the changes that have been made in Stephen's name and the changes that are still needed."

She thanked those who had helped her throughout the years and said that after 25 years "it is time to draw a line".

The government will work alongside the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust - set up to transform the lives of young people and campaign for social change - to deliver an annual commemoration to the death of Stephen Lawrence, which was considered a watershed moment in race relations in the UK.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Baroness Lawrence meeting Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at St-Martin-in-the-Field

Prince Harry said: "It hardly seems possible that 25 years have passed since Stephen Lawrence was so cruelly taken from his family.

"I remember vividly the profound shock that I felt at his senseless murder, a feeling shared by so many people across this country and beyond.

"I remember, too, just how deeply moved I was by the determination of Stephen's family to build something positive from the tragedy they endured and to ensure that Stephen's story did not end with despair, but continued with hope."