Four ex police officers involved in Stephen Lawrence case could face criminal prosecution


Four former police officers involved in Stephen Lawrence case could face criminal prosecution for ‘misconduct’ over arrest of five suspects linked to 1993 racist murder

Four former police officers have today been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service over their handling of Stephen Lawrence’s murder. 

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will be asked to consider if four senior officers in the original murder investigation committed misconduct in public office.

It follows a multi-million-pound investigation by the National Crime Agency – Britain’s version of the FBI – into why officers in charge of the first Met investigation into 18-year-old Stephen’s murder in 1993 did not make arrests for two weeks, despite officers repeatedly being given the names of suspects.  

The officers, who are all now retired, are Det Supt Ian Crampton, who was in charge for the first three days of the inquiry, Det Ch Supt William Ilsley, Det Supt Brian Weeden and DI Ben Bullock.  

Four former police officers have today been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service over their handling of Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

Gary Dobson

David Norris

Gary Dobson, left, and David Norris, right, were convicted of Stephen’s murder

All four former officers strenuously deny committing any offences, with supporters claiming they are victims of a ‘politically motivated witch-hunt’. 

The four former officers have been questioned under caution, which does not imply guilt. The maximum sentence for the offence is life in prison. 

Stephen’s campaigning parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence, have maintained that a series of shocking errors in the early stages of the first murder investigation cheated them of ‘complete’ justice. 

Two of the original five prime suspects in the Lawrence case, named as Stephen’s murderers by the Daily Mail in February 1997, were jailed for life in 2012 following a belated forensic breakthrough.

Despite the convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris, three other members of the gang that stabbed Stephen to death in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, south-east London on April 22, 1993, remain at large.

For the past five years, the NCA has been investigating whether the Lawrence murder suspects – which also included brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt and Luke Knight – were shielded as a result of corruption and who, if anyone, in Scotland Yard was involved.

According to reports, there is no evidence to suggest that the killers were protected by corrupt officers.

But possible offences of misconduct in public office have been identified by NCA investigators.

In its 1999 report, the public inquiry into how police failed to catch Stephen’s murderers, chaired by retired High Court judge Sir William Macpherson, was sharply critical of all four former detectives now accused of misconduct.

Of the Met Police, the scathing report said: ‘The investigation was marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers.’

A 1997 Police Complaints Authority probe into the murder investigation rubbished claims that a ‘wall of silence’ had foiled the Met’s efforts to bring the culprits to justice. It said vital witnesses did come forward during the early days of the inquiry – but they were not treated properly.

‘There is considerable evidence that the people of Eltham came forward with valuable information, albeit in some cases reluctantly,’ it said.

‘The early information was vital. It could only have come from sources close to the suspects since street rumour and gossip would not have had time to develop. Responding to information in order to produce evidence should have been a primary focus of the murder investigation.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk