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Top officer investigated over claims police spied on Lawrence family

By David Mercer

The police watchdog is investigating claims that one of Britain's most senior policemen met an undercover officer who spied on the Stephen Lawrence family.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had started an investigation into allegations of "discreditable conduct and breaches of honesty and integrity" on the part of Metropolitan Police commander Richard Walton. He was temporarily removed from his job as head of the counter-terrorism command SO15 in March following the publication of Mark Ellison QC's report into the original Lawrence murder investigation.

Mr Walton is alleged to have met an undercover officer in 1998 and "obtained information pertaining to the Lawrence family and their supporters, potentially undermining the inquiry and public confidence", the IPCC said yesterday.

Aspiring architect Stephen was murdered at the age of 18 by racists in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993 and it took nearly 20 years for two of the gang of up to six killers to be brought to justice.

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