Fa­ther of Stephen Lawrence says he for­gives son’s killers

The Guardian Weekly - - Uk News - Robert Booth

The fa­ther of Stephen Lawrence has said he for­gives his son’s killers, 25 years af­ter they stabbed the 18-yearold to death as he waited for a bus in Eltham, south-east Lon­don.

Neville Lawrence, 78, said the de­ci­sion to for­give the gang for the racist at­tack was the hard­est one he would ever make, but that he was em­brac­ing his Chris­tian faith and planned to spend the an­niver­sary of his son’s death in church.

Two of the group of up to six men who at­tacked the teenager and his friend Duwayne Brooks be­cause they were black have been con­victed of mur­der, but the rest have evaded jus­tice. David Norris and Gary Dob­son are both serv­ing life sen­tences af­ter con­vic­tions six years ago. They were con­nected to the mur­der scene by ad­vances in foren­sic sci­ence.

Three other men who have con­sis­tently been ac­cused of the killing but never con­victed are Jamie Acourt, 41, his brother Neil, 42, who uses his mother’s maiden name Stuart, and Luke Knight, 41. The ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion was “marred by a com­bi­na­tion of pro­fes­sional in­com­pe­tence, in­sti­tu­tional racism and a fail­ure of lead­er­ship by se­nior of­fi­cers”, ac­cord­ing to the ju­di­cial in­quiry into the case by Sir Wil­liam Macpher­son.

Lawrence’s de­ci­sion has come af­ter Scot­land Yard ad­mit­ted it had run out of leads, al­though it hoped that a three-part BBC1 doc­u­men­tary, Stephen: The Mur­der That Changed a Na­tion, which was due to be­gin screen­ing this week, could re­sult in new wit­nesses com­ing for­ward.

In the doc­u­men­tary, Doreen Lawrence – Stephen’s mother and Neville’s for­mer wife – de­scribed the killers as “id­iots” and com­plained that “they had more rights than we did”.

In 2012, af­ter the con­vic­tions of Norris and Dob­son, she said she could not for­give them be­cause “you can only for­give some­body when they have shown re­morse and ac­cepted what they have done – and they haven’t”.

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