Stephen Lawrence murder: Detectives will not face prosecution, says CPS

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Four former detectives will not face prosecution for their failures in the first Stephen Lawrence murder investigation, a review has concluded.

The review, by a senior lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), upholds a previous decision not to prosecute, which was challenged by Stephen's parents and friend.

On April 22 1993, Lawrence was stabbed to death at the age of 18 by a gang of white men in Eltham, while waiting for a bus.

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His mother, Baroness Lawrence, said she was "bewildered, disappointed, and angry" at the decision, adding: "I am sure the public will be too."

"The decision today means – as things stand – that not a single officer will ever be held responsible in any way shape or form for the obvious and unforgivable failings in Stephen’s case," she said in a statement.

The CPS said: “We understand this news will be extremely disappointing for Stephen’s family and friends, and the CPS has offered to meet with close family members to explain our reasoning in further detail.”

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Stephen LawrenceStephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence

David Norris and Gary Dobson were given life sentences for Lawrence’s murder in 2012. Three other suspects, Luke Knight and brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, have not been convicted of the crime.

A sixth suspect, Matthew White, who died in 2020, was named last year and also never faced charges over the murder.

The CPS had already announced last year that it would not bring charges against the four officers - Detective Superintendent Ian Crampton, Detective Superintendent Brian Weeden, Detective Inspector Benjamin Bullock, Detective Chief Superintendent William Ilsley- who were involved in investigating the murder.

A review of the decision was agreed in response to requests by Stephen’s parents, Dr Neville Lawrence and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and his friend Duwayne Brooks, who was present during the attack.

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Rosemary Ainslie, Head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “Following our decision in July 2023 not to bring criminal charges against four police officers involved in the initial six weeks of the investigation into Stephen’s murder, we received a request to review the decision under the Victim’s Right to Review (VRR) scheme.

“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 murder of Stephen Lawrence prompted a landmark public inquiry which concluded in 1998 that the  Met was “institutionally racist”.

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