Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Hamill murder has echoes of Lawrence case

MARTIN Luther King once remarked that the colour of a man's skin should be of no more significance than the colour of his eyes. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the case of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in London in 1993, this is not so.

Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths shouting racist abuse. The police investigation was deeply flawed and led to accusations of racism against them.

The subsequent MacPherson Report into the killing said Mr Lawrence's murder had exposed "institutional racism" and deep-rooted failings in the Metropolitan Police.

There are many similarities between the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and the sectarian murder of a Catholic, Robert Hamill, in Portadown in 1997.

Mr Hamill, who was attacked by a gang of loyalists shouting sectarian abuse, died from his injuries.

The vile racist murder of Stephen Lawrence was a catalyst for change in British policing and British society. It took 18 years and a heavy toll on the Lawrence family. Fifteen years after the equally vile sectarian attack on Robert Hamill, his family are still waiting for justice.

TOM COOPER

Irish National Congress, Dublin

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