Three detectives who led the bungled Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry 25 years ago to be quizzed over ‘misconduct’
- Three detectives involved in the Lawrence case to be probed for ‘misconduct’
- They will be interviewed under caution over their failings in the investigation
- Dozens of people approached Scotland Yard to name the killers, but no arrests were made for two weeks
Three police officers who led the original Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry 25 years ago have been told they will be questioned over alleged misconduct in public office.
They will be interviewed under caution over failings in the widely criticised investigation into the 18-year-old A-level student’s death at the hands of a racist gang.
Dozens of people approached Scotland Yard to name the killers but no arrests were made for two weeks, a decision which meant vital evidence was lost for ever.
Detective Chief Superintendent William Ilsley, left, oversaw the original investigation into the death of Stephen Lawrence. Ian Crampton, right, led the Stephen Lawrence inquiry for the first three days
Detective Brian Weeden replaced Crampton three days after the inquiry began. Now all three men, who are all retired and in their 70s, have been told they will be questioned for alleged misconduct in a public office
The three officers – Detective Superintendent Ian Crampton, in charge for the first three days after the murder; Det Supt Brian Weeden, who took over as senior investigating officer; and Det Chief Supt William Ilsley, who oversaw them – have all received letters formally placing them under investigation by the National Crime Agency.
The offence of misconduct in public office – effectively breach of duty – carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
All three men are retired and in their 70s and deny any wrongdoing.
Doreen and Neville Lawrence, the parents of murdered black teenager Stephen. A series of forensic breakthroughs led an Old Bailey jury to convict two of the five suspects – Gary Dobson and David Norris – in 2012
Part of the wide-ranging NCA investigation has looked at whether the murder suspects were shielded as a result of corruption.
However, sources say the NCA does not have any evidence to suggest the officers acted corruptly.
Scotland Yard has spent more than £50 million over 25 years trying to convict the suspects.
A series of forensic breakthroughs led an Old Bailey jury to convict two of the five suspects – Gary Dobson and David Norris – in 2012.
The alleged murderers outside the public inquiry into police handling of the case in 1998, as they are pelted with eggs
The other three members of the gang have never been successfully prosecuted.
In a BBC documentary screened earlier this year to mark the 25th anniversary of the murder, Mr Crampton defended the decision not to arrest the suspects.
He said: ‘I was made aware that there were phone calls coming in [to the police] naming people. Many of the calls were of a similar nature… At no stage had we actually got any evidence.’
Stephen Lawrence who was stabbed to death in April 1993. Three police officers who led the original Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry 25 years ago have been told they will be questioned over alleged misconduct in public office
He also reveals that a surveillance team that was supposed to have been monitoring the suspects failed to turn up, and therefore did not see them removing items from their homes in ‘black bin liners’.
Duwayne Brooks, 44, who was with Stephen when the pair were attacked in Eltham, South-East London, said earlier this year that he had lost confidence in the NCA inquiry, calling it a ‘waste of time and taxpayers’ money’.
Victor Marshall, of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said: ‘We are supporting some former officers who have been informed they are under investigation for misconduct. They strenuously deny any wrongdoing. The officers have given their accounts of their roles thoroughly and consistently many times… and when these were much fresher in their minds than now when the officers are in their 70s.
‘We are therefore surprised they are being asked for a further account given the exhaustive nature of these previous inquiries. We have requested information from the NCA as to the justification and grounds for this new investigation.’
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