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Stephen Lawrence murder: How police failed to catch the killers

This article is over 12 years, 4 months old
As Stephen lay bleeding to death, police received the first reports of an attack.
Issue 2285

As Stephen lay bleeding to death, police received the first reports of an attack.

The first officers to arrive failed to give first aid. They didn’t even bother taking the first aid kit out of the car.

They left the scene and went to the local pub, the Welcome Inn, apparently to gather witness accounts.

Within hours of the murder, the police had the names of several potential suspects, including Gary Dobson and David Norris.

Others named included Jamie and Neil Acourt, brothers who referred to themselves as “the Krays”, and Luke Knight.

Doreen Lawrence also handed the police the names of potential suspects.

On the night of the murder Neville Lawrence was visited by somebody who told him the names of the attackers.

He told the police the names.

Despite police claims of a wall of silence, the same group of names was given to police 26 times in 48 hours.

The police investigation did not begin until four days later, as police prioritised a different case involving a young black man wanted on suspicion of theft.

Even then they didn’t question the suspects. Instead, they mounted a surveillance operation outside the Acourts’ house.

A young man was seen taking clothes from the house covered in a black bin liner, but no photographs were taken—despite a police photographer being present.

The next day Jamie Acourt was seen leaving with a black bin liner, but nobody followed him.

Bloody tissue found near the attack was lost and never examined forensically.

Nor were the floorboards at the Acourts’ house ever lifted, despite an informant telling police officers that the brothers hid their knives below them.

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