Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence was a black British teenager living in London, UK, who was murdered on April 22, 1993, aged 18.

While waiting at a bus stop he was attacked and stabbed by a number of white teenagers. It was not the first such attack, but the publicity it received turned the case into a major national issue that threatened to cause civil disturbance and severely damaged relations between the Afro-Caribbean community, the Police and justice system.

Table of contents
1 Stephen Lawrence
2 Macpherson Report
3 External Links
4 See Also

Stephen Lawrence

Born in Britain in 1974 to Jamaican parents, he was a student hoping to become an architect. After he was attacked, Stephen tried to escape but collapsed and died after 200 yards.

At the time of writing (2003) no one has been convicted of Stephen's murder. A case brought by the Crown Prosecution Service against two suspects was dropped on July 29 1993 after deciding that there was insufficient evidence. A private prosecution in April 1996 against three other suspects, brought by Stephen's family, failed when they were acquitted due to unreliable identification evidence. In February 1997 the Daily Mail newspaper labelled the five suspects "Murderers", and challenged them to sue for libel. To date, they have not done so.

Macpherson Report

(Also known as the "Stephen Lawrence Report")

After two police inquiries found no cause for concern, the new Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered a public inquiry in 1997.

The inquiry, carried out by Sir William Macpherson, found that the Metropolitan Police Service investigation had been incompetent, that officers had committed fundamental errors including failing to give first aid when they reached the scene, failure to follow leads during their investigation, failure to arrest suspects, and a failure of leadership by senior officers.

However, beyond this, Macpherson found that the police were institutionally racist, and made a total of 70 recommendations for reform in his report dated February 24, 1999.

Macpherson also called for reform in the British Civil Service, local government, the British National Health Service, Schools and the judicial system to address issues of institutional racism.

External Links

See Also