Stephen Lawrence’s parents say his legacy is ‘one of hope and change’ after a minute’s silence is held at ‘Spy Cops’ inquiry on 28th anniversary of his murder by gang of racist thugs
- Stephen Lawrence was murdered on April 22, 1993 – 28 years ago on Thursday
- He was killed in unprovoked attack by a gang of racist thugs in Eltham, London
- Neville and Doreen Lawrence were speaking during the ‘Spy Cops’ inquiry
- In the aftermath, undercover officers spied on his family’s campaign for justice
- Stephen’s parents and his friend, Duwayne Brooks, who was with him on the night he died, were all reported on by undercover police from the SDS squad
- They are all classed as core participants in the public inquiry being undertaken
Stephen Lawrence’s parents have said his legacy is ‘one of hope and change’ after a minutes silence was held at the ‘Spy Cops’ inquiry on Thursday.
Neville and Doreen Lawrence made the comment 28 years to the day since their son was murdered in an unprovoked attack by a gang of racist thugs in Eltham, south-east London, and as a public inquiry into shadowy undercover policing tactics held a minute’s silence in his memory.
They said: ‘Despite the brutal circumstances of Stephen’s death, those left behind have campaigned to ensure that his legacy is ultimately one of hope, reminding us that change is both much needed but also possible.’
Stephen Lawrence’s parents have said his legacy is ‘one of hope and change’ after a minutes silence was held at the ‘Spy Cops’ inquiry on Thursday. Pictured: Stephen Laurence (file photo)
Their joint statement was read by Undercover Policing Inquiry chairman and former High Court judge Sir John Mitting, as the day’s hearing began with a minute’s silence to mark Stephen Lawrence Day in memory of the 18-year-old.
Undercover officers spied on his family’s campaign for justice.
Stephen’s parents and his friend, Duwayne Brooks, who was with him on the night he died, were all reported on by undercover police and are all classed as core participants in the public inquiry.
Incompetence, alleged corruption and racism in the police meant that it took nearly 20 years to convict two of his killers, while the remaining three have never been brought to justice.
The Lawrences remembered their son, who was killed on April 22, 1993, as ‘a bright and much-loved young man with his whole life ahead of him’.
Profound cultural shifts in attitude, racism, and changes in the law are now part of his legacy, they said.
The family said it also includes the 1998 public inquiry into the handling of his case, leading to publication of the Macpherson Report which concluded that the Metropolitan Police’s murder investigation had been ‘marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers’.
The Undercover Policing Inquiry was set up in 2015 to look at the activities of two shadowy police units after condemnation of undercover tactics.
A public outcry was sparked when it was revealed that women had been tricked into sexual relationships with undercover officers and that police spies had used the identities of dead children without their families’ permission.
Family justice campaigns were spied upon, and there are claims that some officers were arrested or prosecuted for crimes under fake identities, leading to alleged miscarriages of justice for their co-defendants.
Neville Lawrence, the father of Stephen Lawrence (right), and Stephen’s friend Duwayne Brooks – who was present when Stephen was killed – were both spied upon by undercover police officers
The Metropolitan Police have repeated apologies for officers having sexual relationships and using the identities of dead children without their families’ consent.
In a statement released by the Met on Wednesday, Helen Ball, Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism, said the period included rioting and the start of the IRA bombing campaign in England.
She said the force’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) was operating against this ‘challenging’ backdrop and added that ‘the Met acknowledges that these cases caused significant harm and distress, and for this we are sorry’.
Gary Dobson (left) and David Norris, the two men convicted of the killing of Stephen Lawrence
The two units being examined are the SDS, which existed between 1968 and 2008, and the undercover part of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which existed between 1999 and 2010.
During the current batch of hearings, the deployment of 29 undercover officers will be examined, who on average were on assignment for three to five years.
To date the mammoth inquiry has cost more than £36 million, although Tory peer Lord Moylan estimated last week that this could rise to £100 million, including police costs, by the time the inquiry reports in 2023.
Pictured: Doreen and Neville Lawrence with their lawyer Imran Khan (right). Lawrence’s parents were spied upon by undercover cops during their campaign for justice for the son
On Wednesday, the Spy Cops inquiry heard that sexual activity between undercover police officers and members of the public who did not know their true identities was ‘not uncommon’ from the mid-1970s.
David Barr QC told the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) some officers in the then all-male Metropolitan Police Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) would make jokes about intimate relationships in front of managers.
No written instructions have been found governing sexual relationships by officers in the shadowy unit, but the inquiry heard there is evidence that, between 1972 and 1983, at least five had intimate contact with as many as 12 women.
Mr Barr said: ‘It can safely be said that, from the mid-1970s onwards, sexual contact between SDS officers in their undercover identities and members of the public was not uncommon.’
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