Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Father demands judge-led inquiry

Stephen Lawrence's mother Doreen said there was no justification for efforts to discredit her family following her son's murder
Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white youths in an unprovoked racist attack
Stephen Lawrence's mother Doreen Lawrence alongside Stephen's father Neville, right, and brother Stuart

The father of murdered black student Stephen Lawrence has called for a judge-led inquiry into claims that undercover police officers were told to spy on his family and other campaigners for justice over his death, in the hope of finding information to smear them

Neville Lawrence dismissed as "completely unsatisfactory" Home Secretary Theresa May's announcement that she would extend two ongoing inquiries into alleged police wrongdoing to cover the allegations made by former undercover officer Peter Francis.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he was "personally shocked" by Mr Francis's claim that, while infiltrating an anti-racist group in the 1990s, he was put under "huge and constant pressure" from superiors to "hunt for disinformation" to undermine those demanding a better investigation into the murder. Mr Francis also said he was told to withhold information about his activities from the Macpherson Inquiry into the Met's handling of the murder investigation.

"If these allegations are true, it's a disgrace, and the Metropolitan Police Service will apologise," said Sir Bernard. "Smearing the family of a murder victim would never be acceptable to me or my officers."

Mrs May told MPs in the House of Commons that the allegations will be considered by the inquiry into the undercover operations of the Special Demonstration Squad in London in the 1980s and 1990s, being led by Derbyshire chief constable Mick Creedon under the oversight of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, as well as the review of alleged police corruption in the original Lawrence inquiry being conducted by Mark Ellison QC.

But in a statement issued from his home in Jamaica, Mr Lawrence said: "I understand that the Home Secretary has announced that she will extend the inquiries of Mark Ellison QC and Operation Herne, I would like to make it clear that I find this completely unsatisfactory. I am convinced that nothing short of a judge-led public inquiry will suffice and I have no confidence that the measures announced today will get to the bottom of this matter."

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