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‘No indication of corruption’ by former Stephen Lawrence detective, watchdog finds

It had been alleged that John Davidson was in the pay of Clifford Norris, father of David Norris who was convicted in 2012 of Stephen’s murder.

Stephen Lawrence (Family handout/PA)
Stephen Lawrence (Family handout/PA)

A former police officer accused of corruption in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation will face no further action.

Watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IOPC) confirmed that its investigators had found “no indication of corruption” by ex-detective sergeant John Davidson.

There were longstanding allegations that Mr Davidson was in the pay of Clifford Norris, the drug-smuggling father of David Norris who was convicted in 2012 of Stephen’s murder.

Claims against Mr Davidson, who has always denied wrongdoing, were made by his former colleague, Neil Putnam, a corrupt officer turned supergrass.

Duwayne Brooks, Stephen’s friend who was with him on the night he was killed, claimed Davidson was a “smokescreen” which distracted from a wider network of alleged corruption that already existed before the murder.

He told PA: “It’s been a waste of time and a waste of money. Davidson was just the potential fall guy. This goes deeper than Lawrence.

“It was all already there. The networks, the friendships, they were all already there, in place.”

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Duwayne Brooks has dismissed the probe into alleged corruption as ‘a waste of time’ (John Stillwell/PA)

He criticised the current inquiry as “poor”, and said investigators had been too tied to looking through existing files rather than focusing on fresh inquiries.

“You’re not going to find in any file ‘Yeah, I made this corrupt decision last week’. You’re not going to find that. What are you actually looking for in the files?

“That’s why it is pointless.”

In 1994 Stephen’s parents unsuccessfully brought a private prosecution against Gary Dobson and two other men, Neil Acourt and Luke Knight.

Mr Brooks was under police protection as he prepared to give evidence, and Detective Constable David Coles, an officer who had previously been seen meeting Clifford Norris, was sent to guard him.

Mr Brooks said: “No-one has been able to explain to me how Clifford Norris’ friend, a police officer, was able to be a protection officer for me, no-one can explain it.”

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Gary Dobson (left) and David Norris were convicted in 2012 of the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)

The allegations against Davidson were examined in 2014 during a review by barrister Mark Ellison QC, who led the prosecution of Norris and Dobson for Stephen’s murder.

An IOPC spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that we have advised former DS Davidson and all interested parties that, having reviewed and tested all of the available evidence including the lines of inquiry identified by the Ellison review, we have concluded that there is no indication of corruption on the part of Mr Davidson relating to the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.”

Stephen’s mother, Baroness Lawrence, told the Daily Mail: “I am bitterly disappointed with the news that DS Davidson appears to have been cleared of any wrongdoing.”

The inquiry into the original investigation into the 18-year-old’s murder, which began in March 2015, is being directed by the watchdog and carried out by the National Crime Agency. The IOPC said the probe is “well advanced”.

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Baroness Lawrence said she is bitterly disappointed that ex-detective John Davidson has been cleared of alleged corruption (Victoria Jones/PA)

Stephen was stabbed to death by a gang of racists in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993.

The initial attempts to catch his killers were hampered by incompetence and institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police.

No arrests were made for two weeks after his death despite five suspects including Dobson and Norris being named by anonymous informants.

It was reported last week that two former detectives involved in the original murder investigation have been interviewed under caution for alleged misconduct in public office.

Another two senior officers will also be spoken to, the Daily Mail reported.

The IOPC spokeswoman added: “Investigators have been and continue to interview serving and former police officers and staff involved in the original murder inquiry.

“A crucial part of our investigation is speaking to those who were close to the murder inquiry at the time, either as close observers or active participants.”

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