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Police end active investigation into Stephen Lawrence murder

The probe into the murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence has been moved to an ‘inactive phase’ as all ‘identified lines of inquiry’ have been completed.

On April 22, 1993, the aspiring architect was stabbed to death by a group of five white men who launched an unprovoked attack as he waited at a bus stop with a friend in Eltham, southeast London.

Two people were convicted over the murder, but Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said it is a ‘matter of huge regret’ that the remaining suspects were not brought to justice.

Gary Dobson and David Norris were jailed for life at the Old Bailey in 2012 at the end of a trial that hinged on tiny traces of forensic evidence found years after the crime.

Two of the three remaining suspects, brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, have since served jail time for drug dealing, while Luke Knight has remained free.

A possible sixth man was identified by witnesses and arrested in 2014 but was never charged.

When the Met announced two years ago that it was mothballing the investigation and it was unlikely to progress without new information, Stephen’s mother, Doreen Lawrence, said she wanted the probe closed.

However, his father, Neville, said he hoped the family could get ‘total justice’ and that he would never give up.

Speaking today after the Met’s decision to shelve the investigation, Ms Dick said: ‘This was an appalling racist murder and I am sad that we have been unable to secure further convictions for Stephen, his family and friends.

‘I, and the senior investigator in charge of the case, Chris Le Pere, have met with Baroness Lawrence and Mr Lawrence and fully explained the work the team have been doing, and why we are now at this stage.

‘The investigation has now moved to an inactive’ phase, but I have given Stephen’s family the assurance that we will continue to deal with any new information that comes to light.

‘The investigation into Stephen’s murder will also be periodically reviewed for any further investigative opportunities which may arise, for example with advances in technology.

‘Mr (Duwayne) Brooks, who was with Stephen on the night he died, has also been advised of the decision.

‘We were able to secure two convictions following a determined investigation in 2012 but it is well known that other suspects were also involved in the events which unfolded that night and it is deeply frustrating that we have been unable to bring them to justice.

‘As a result of ceaseless campaigning for justice by Stephen’s parents, profound changes have happened in policing, the law and wider society. I pay tribute to them for their courage and achievements. And today my thoughts are with them and all Stephen’s loved ones.’

More to follow.

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