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Lest We Forget ... Thursday 22 April 1993


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#1 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 08:31 AM

... on the evening of 22 April 1993, black schoolboys, Stephen Lawrence and his friend Duwayne Brooks, were lynched at a bus stop in Eltham, south east London. Stephen Lawrence died of stab wounds, but the subsequent police investigation failed to bring his killers to justice.

There had been many other racist lynchings in recent years - against Rolan Adams, Quddus Ali, Rohit Dougal, and others - but it was the campaign for justice run by Stephen's parents, Neville and Doreen, that persuaded Home Secretary Jack Straw to call for a public inquiry.



That was in July 1997 and the Stephen Lawrence inquiry report was published on 24 February 1999. It stated that the murder was "simply and solely and unequivocally motivated by racism", and condemned the Metropolitan Police for incompetence and complacency, its appalling treatment of the Lawrence family, and for "institutional racism" - "unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping".

The treatment by the police of Duwayne Brooks is highlighted as an example of how "unwitting racism" contributed to the failure to bring Stephen Lawrence's killers to justice. Brooks was with Lawrence the night they were attacked, but managed to escape. He returned shortly, to help his friend as he lay bleeding and called for an ambulance. Rather than regard him as a victim and a valuable witness, the first two police officers on the scene treated Brooks as a primary suspect. Police Constable Bethel did not ask for a description of the assailants or show any interest in the information Brooks gave about the direction in which they fled. Instead he asked Brooks if he was carrying any weapons.

Although both officers were trained in first aid, neither sought to stem the flow of Stephen's blood. They did not even ascertain the severity or nature of his wounds. Brooks had mistakenly thought that the weapon used in the attack was an iron bar. In fact, Stephen had received two stab wounds in the chest, severing auxiliary arteries. Even by the time Stephen arrived at the hospital, medical staff were left under the impression by the police that he had suffered head injuries from an iron bar.

Both officers, and others at the police station where Brooks was taken, commented that they could not believe this fatal assault was an unprovoked racist attack.

The next group of policemen on the scene were travelling in a Territorial Support Group vehicle. These included several constables, sergeants and an Inspector, Stephen Groves, the most senior police officer at the scene. Despite having responded to a radio call that had described an "assault", Groves immediately assumed that there had been a fight. It was deduced that this was because he saw that the victims were black.

In contravention of standard procedures, Groves left the scene of the crime without ascertaining the nature of the injuries or securing a description of the assailants and the direction in which they had fled.

His "search" of the area was therefore futile. At no time was it deemed necessary to consult with Brooks. The report goes on to detail what it glibly describes as the "Red Astra Saga". This is a crucial aspect of the murder inquiry that was not followed up, particularly regarding the racist motive for the killing. Within an hour of the attack, police saw a red Vauxhall Astra car driving up and down the road where the fatal attack had taken place. The car's occupants were seen laughing and pointing to the site of the murder. Despite this behaviour, and the fact that around five young white men fitting the general description of the attackers given by Brooks were in the car, no attempt was made to stop it. Instead, the police officer merely recorded the registration plate. When action was suggested to check on vehicles of this description and registration in the locality, this was terminated by the Senior Investigating Officer--who deemed it a "non-priority" and said that "no further action be made at this time".

When, by chance, the vehicle was stopped eight days later, the addresses and dates of birth of its two occupants were taken. Yet there was no follow-up inquiry until 39 days later. When they were questioned, both admitted to being in the vicinity of the attack only 10 minutes before it took place. The two, together with another passenger on the evening in question, gave conflicting accounts of who else was in the vehicle.

One said, "There were five of us altogether, but I don't want to say about the other two." The others claimed that they were the only ones present. All of them said that up until about an hour before the incident they had been drinking in a local pub frequented by a gang of local racist youth.

However, the detective who conducted the interview eliminated them as suspects and no further inquiries were made. Two of those interviewed, Kieran Hyland and Daniel Copley, were convicted for their part in a racist attack in nearby Thamesmead two years earlier, which resulted in the lynch mob murder of Rolan Adams. Hyland had also been convicted separately of another racist attack. All three were members of an organisation calling itself Nazi Turnout.

Detective Sergeant Davidson was the most vocal in denying that the killing was racist. Much of the information received by the police about the suspects was from anonymous sources. It was Davidson's job to turn this information into evidence by bringing forward reliable eyewitnesses. He joined the murder investigation on the second day. From then on he had constant and regular meetings with a police informer, whose pseudonym was James Grant. No official records remain of any of these meetings. Grant was the first person to offer the police the possibility of obtaining direct evidence by naming two eyewitnesses.

In the case of one, known as K, the witness had visited the Acourt's home on the night of the murder. The Acourts appeared to be in an agitated state. One was wearing no shirt, as if he had just been washing. This was corroborated by other reports, some of which also claim that the suspects had been seen washing knives. This was never followed up. Witness K was only interviewed once and Detective Sergeant Davidson could not even remember if he had conducted it.

Davidson's approach was described as "counterproductive" when interviewing other people who came forward to offer information. His role also proved detrimental when he interviewed a leading suspect, Gary Dobson, after the police eventually made an arrest on May 6. Detective Sergeant Mould, an expert in the field, subjected his interview to criticism. He described the questioning as "confirmatory" rather interrogatory.

During the interview Davidson even suggested to Dobson that the killing was not racist. For these reasons, Duwayne Brooks became the sole eyewitness in the investigation. The inquiry is forced to concede that he was mistreated, but denies accusations of "criminalisation" and "demonisation" by the police for the purposes of discrediting his testimony. The "mistreatment" identified includes being falsely accused by the police on several occasions of petty offences such as breaking a window in a police station and stealing a can of drink at an identification parade.

Most significant is the prosecution brought by the police in October 1993 in connection with an offence that occurred while Brooks was taking part in a demonstration outside the headquarters of the British National Party (BNP) two weeks after Stephen's death. A Crown Court judge threw this out because Brooks had been diagnosed as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The eagerness of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute Brooks was in stark contrast to their dropping of murder charges against the five suspects in the Lawrence case only months before.

Due to this and other evidence, the inquiry acknowledged that at least half of all officers involved had refused to recognise the killing as being racially motivated, even though it had, by then, been officially classified as such. This is again dismissed in the Mcpherson report as the product of "unwitting racism". This trait is, moreover, only acknowledged regarding officers of lower rank. The more senior officers are all exonerated, despite being responsible for directing and ratifying police actions every step of the way. It was enough to state under cross-examination that it was a racist murder for them to be given a clean bill of health.

At the public inquiry, the claim that the police investigation lacked hard evidence and received no co-operation from the general public was disproved. Instead of a "wall of silence" between April and May of 1993, in fact, some 26 different people provided information pointing to the killers. This included a police informer who supplied material about those involved in the attack the very next day, and two anonymous tip-offs naming four of the assailants. The police also had a statement from a white male who had been the victim of a stabbing by two of the suspects a month earlier.

The police failed to give any credible explanation of why it took them two weeks to act on the corroborated evidence of two critical witnesses. Witness B saw the assault from a passing bus. He relayed the information to witness K, who later went to the home of three of the suspects, a short distance from the murder scene. There, witness K observed the suspects acting nervously. All of them showed signs that they had recently washed themselves.

The fortnight's delay before the five were arrested meant vital forensic evidence could have been destroyed. The police even failed to intercept garbage bags being removed from the home of one suspect, even though a surveillance team witnessed this. They also failed to follow up the evidence of a young black man who, three days after Stephen's murder, was allegedly threatened with a knife by one of the suspects, who warned, "You're next."

After the CPS decision to drop the charges against the five suspects in July 1993, an internal review was commissioned. It concluded that the initial police investigation had "progressed satisfactorily and all lines of inquiry [were] correctly pursued." After years of citing this report, the police have been forced to concede that it lacks any credibility. Its author, Detective Chief Superintendent Roderick Barker, was dismissed as a witness by the chairman of the inquiry for being "not credible". His report was described as "indefensible".

The police excused their failure to carry out routine investigative procedures on the grounds of a lack of resources or inadequate training. A procession of police officers presented themselves as bungling incompetents to avoid the charge of institutionalised racism. This reached absurd levels. Detective Superintendent Brian Weeden, who headed the initial investigation, retired in 1994 after 30 years service. He claimed ignorance of the fact that the five white youth could have been arrested on "reasonable suspicion", an elementary point of criminal law.

Clifford Norris, the father of one of those originally charged with Stephen's murder, is a convicted criminal now serving a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence for drugs and firearms offences. When his son David was on trial in July 1993 for the attempted murder of Stacy Benefield, Clifford Norris attempted to bribe the victim in return for not giving evidence. This failed, but the jury reached a verdict of not guilty. It later emerged that the jury foreman was related to a key figure in the London drugs underworld, who was on police bail at the time for handling a stolen cheque for £23,000.

Clifford Norris has a proven connection with at least one police officer involved in the Lawrence case. The officer, David Coles, conducted secret meetings in bars with Clifford Norris where he was seen with a pocket calculator and parcels were exchanged. Coles claimed he was procuring the drug smuggler as an informant, but this had not been cleared with his superiors and he was demoted. Yet Coles was appointed as the police escort for Stephen's friend, Duwayne Brooks, a key witness to the murder.

Clifford Norris was never called to give testimony to the inquiry, along with many others including witnesses B and K. The subpoena forcing the five suspects to testify on June 29 and 30 was heralded as the high point of the inquiry's first phase. It turned out to be its nadir. Before the five were due to give evidence, a High Court judge ruled that no question could be asked directly relating to their guilt in Stephen's murder.

Their subsequent appearance before a body lacking the powers of a criminal court could not, under any circumstances, compensate for their never facing trial for murder.

Questioning of the five therefore centred on their possession and use of lethal weapons and their outspoken racist beliefs. They openly displayed their contempt for the fate of Stephen Lawrence. Luke Knight used the refrain, "Not that I can remember" a total of 38 times. The answers they did give were generally provocative. A total of six knives were recovered from the home of Jamie and Neil Acourt, including a Gurkha knife with a long curved blade and a locksmith's knife. Questioned about a sword and scabbard found under the sofa at his home, Jamie Acourt said they were "ornaments". When asked whether this was the customary place to keep ornaments he replied, "Yes".

The two brothers were notorious at their former high school for threatening black and Asian pupils with coshes, knives and baseball bats. Footage from the surveillance camera planted in their flat in 1994, after Stephen's murder, records repeated conversations between the five boasting of racial assaults. Its shows Neil Acourt demonstrating to the others how to inflict an over-arm blow with a carving knife similar to the fatal blow that killed Stephen. One clip showed a conversation between Acourt and Luke Knight in which the former said that every black person should be chopped up and left with nothing but a stump. When confronted with this evidence Acourt explained that this was his idea of humour.

Gary Dobson and David Norris are also shown on the video footage bragging about their racist exploits. A knife with a 10-inch blade, similar to the one used to kill Stephen, was found under the bed of Dobson's girlfriend. When questioned about this, Dobson said it was used for gardening purposes.



Outside the inquiry building, the five, protected by police, shouted insults and spat at protesters.

On 23 February 2002, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, told a conference that nothing had changed since the Government pledged to root out prejudice in 1999. Doreen Lawrence told an audience of 200 that she had received racist hate mail. She was accompanied by a police protection officer at the conference, organised by the National Assembly Against Racism to mark the third anniversary of the Macpherson report on the failed police investigation into her son's death. She said: 'We as Black people are still on the outside looking in. That has not changed since the report came out. I am bringing somebody here to protect my safety because of the racist hate mail that is being sent to this conference.'

Addressing the Unite Against Racism conference in February 2003, Mrs Lawrence challenged the Home Secretary Mr. David Blunkett to show that race was still on the government's agenda. She said: "It is ten years since my son Stephen was murdered, but his killers are still out there and free to attack anyone else. Racist incidents in Eltham - where my son was murdered - and in other parts of South East London are on the rise and those caught committing racist crimes are treated too leniently as happened with the black police officer. There are too many excuses".



Neville and Doreen Lawrence ... Today


To this day, not a single one of the gang of white youths who lynched the black teenagers that Spring evening 12 years ago in Eltham, south-east London, has been brought to justice. All of the 5 "prime suspects" - Jamie and Neil Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight - now live happily in south-east London. In September 2002, David Norris (now 25) and Neil Acourt (now 27) were jailed for 18 months for attacking an off-duty black police officer in Eltham (by driving a motor car at him after calling him a "N*gger").



Rest in Peace

#2 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 10:31 AM

... just to reassure you all, the 5 "prime suspects" - Neil and Jamie Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight - currently meet, eat and drink in Eltham, exactly as they did before the lynching of Stephen Lawrence.

They drink at The Old Post Office, 4, Passey Place, Eltham, London, SE9 5DQ

If any of you would like to join them, please follow these instructions:

From Eltham station, head into the town centre then turn left into Eltham High Street. On the high street, turn right into Passey Place.

Alternatively, please try here (please click)

If you would like to join them for a meal, they eat regularly at the Eletriq Café, 183-185 Eltham High Street, Eltham, London SE9 1TS (Tel: 020 8859 4095). For further details please try here (please click).

Good luck - if you live to tell the tale, please share the details with the rest of us.





... coming soon ... to a pub or restuarant near you ...



No Problem

#3 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 09:51 AM

... lest we forget ...

#4 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 09:24 PM

... lest we forget ...

#5 Mogho Naaba

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 01:16 PM

QUOTE (MarcusGarveyLives @ Aug 7 2005, 11:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... just to reassure you all, the 5 "prime suspects" - Neil and Jamie Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight - currently meet, eat and drink in Eltham, exactly as they did before the lynching of Stephen Lawrence.

They drink at The Old Post Office, 4, Passey Place, Eltham, London, SE9 5DQ

If any of you would like to join them, please follow these instructions:

From Eltham station, head into the town centre then turn left into Eltham High Street. On the high street, turn right into Passey Place.

Alternatively, please try here (please click)

If you would like to join them for a meal, they eat regularly at the Eletriq Café, 183-185 Eltham High Street, Eltham, London SE9 1TS (Tel: 020 8859 4095). For further details please try here (please click).

Good luck - if you live to tell the tale, please share the details with the rest of us.



popcorn.gif

#6 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 06:54 AM

... lest we forget ...

#7 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:53 AM

... lest we forget ...

#8 Twang

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:38 PM



Apart from the obvious what’s really sad about this is, this was the last occasion Africans felt the need to come together as one in order to protest effectively against the establishment before they decided to flood the community with Crack Cocaine sponsored by police Assassins imported from the wider African community.


Least we forget.




#9 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 06:29 AM

... lest we forget ...

#10 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:00 PM

... lest we forget ...

#11 Toyin

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 02:28 PM

... lest we forget ...


Thanks for the reminder. Our thoughts remain with the family and friends.

I think Colourful radio with their interview with the head of the Steven Lawrence Trust yesterday was the only community radio station to give space to commemorate the day.

http://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk/

The BBC website ran an article;
http://www.bbc.co.uk...london-13169508

And there has been an article in the Guardian using the term 'Institutional Racism' as a current descriptor still valid to define the persistent anti-African barriers in the British Education system. This is where figures from the The Department for Education (DfE) has revealed that there are only 30 African male headteachers in England's state schools whilst our sistas fare little better at 127 out of 21,600 state schools.

http://www.guardian....s-state-schools

Justice on all counts is taking a long time coming...

#12 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 02:13 PM

Two men are to stand trial over the murder of Stephen Lawrence ... (click for more)

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Gary Dobson and David Norris



#13 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:08 PM

... lest we forget ...

#14 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:10 AM

Stephen Lawrence murder: Theresa May considering new public inquiry: Home secretary motivated by allegations that police corruption may have shielded the gang that murdered Stephen Lawrence (click for more)

#15 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:06 AM

... 20 years later ...

 

neville-and-doreen-lawrence-image-2-9078

 

... lest we forget ... 



#16 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:36 AM

On the 20th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, Mrs Doreen Lawrence and her surviving son are surrounded by a bunch of white supremacist publicity seeking hypocrites ...

 

article-2313063-196E995F000005DC-438_634

 

Left to Right: Policing Minister Damian Green, Home Secretary Teresa May, Deputy Prime Minister & leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, arsonist Nick Clegg, Mrs Doreen Lawrence, her son Stuart Lawrence, Prime Minister & leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband and Conservative Party leadership hopeful and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson


 



#17 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:03 PM

The sordid Truth continues to unfold ...

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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#18 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 12:57 PM

"A relative of a "corrupt" police officer at the heart of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry worked at Scotland Yard, it has emerged, prompting fresh questions about the force’s handling of the affair ..."
 
 
"A former detective facing investigation over alleged corruption in the Stephen Lawrence inquiry has boasted ‘They’ll never lay a finger on me’, it was claimed yesterday ..."
 
 
"Commander Richard Walton is moved 'temporarily' after report that revealed police spying on Stephen Lawrence's family ..."
 
 
"The head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command yesterday became the first casualty of the damning new report into the Stephen Lawrence case ...
 
Commander Richard Walton was ‘temporarily moved’ from his post as head of SO15 to a non-operational role following the Ellison review ..."
 
 
article-2576024-1C14C43A00000578-130_306
 
Former Detective Sergeant John Davidson:  "They’ll never lay a finger on me"
 
article-2575488-06ACEBC300000514-988_306
 
Commander Richard Walton: "I welcome any scrutiny of my role in these events over more than 16 years ago, including in the forthcoming public inquiry."


#19 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 11:07 PM

How much worse can get this get?
 
"Intelligence that linked a suspected corrupt police officer on the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation to the gangster father of one of the prime suspects was apparently suppressed to protect the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner ..."
 


#20 MarcusGarveyLives

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:00 AM

... lest we forget ...






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