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Stephen Lawrence's dad vows to face son's killers at parole hearings and tells to them to admit guilt over 1993 attack
18 April 2023, 13:29 | Updated: 18 April 2023, 13:40
The father of Stephen Lawrence has vowed to face his killers at their parole hearings, and will push for them to remain in jail if they will not to admit their guilt.
Five men were arrested over the racist murder of 18-year-old Stephen, who was stabbed to death in Eltham, south-east London, on April 22, 1993.
Two of the gang that attacked him, Gary Dobson, 47, and David Norris, 46, were brought to justice.
Both were given life sentences in 2012 after being found guilty of murder.
Stephen's father Neville Lawrence, 81, has now said he will give impact statements at the parole hearings of the two men, and told The Mirror he will push for them to remain locked up if they refuse to admit murdering his son.
"To me, it would be essential that these people say 'yes, I murdered Stephen Lawrence' before they are let out into society again," he said.
"My son is dead, he will never be able to come out of the coffin."
In March, a report by Baroness Louise Casey into the Metropolitan Police found it guilty of institutional racism, sexism and homophobia.
Mr Lawrence said after the findings he sees no point in meeting with Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.
"No one is taking any notice of what we’re saying, they haven’t been for 30 years, so why would I even bother? I don’t want to meet him," he explained.
"If there should ever be a situation where somebody was able to bring good evidence to try to get the rest of the people responsible for my son’s death, who’s going to take the case?"
The report appeared to confirm fears that little has changed within the force since the 1999 Mcpherson study found that the force was "institutionally racist", and that racism was an important factor in the failure of the Met investigation.
Addressing recent scandals, including the strip-search of a Black pupil, he said: "Those things make you feel it is an apartheid system they are using by targeting ordinary black people. If anything happened to me that I needed a police officer, I wouldn’t call them."
Following Stephen's murder, police failed to arrest those suspected of killing him, despite having their names within hours of the attack.
Frustrated by the police's handling of the case, the Lawrence family mounted a private prosecution in September 1994, which failed.
It was only in 2012 that Dobson and Norris were convicted over the attack.
Dobson was sentenced to 15 years and two months behind bars, while Norris given 14 years and three months.
Norris will be eligible for parole next year.
Mr Lawrence now spends most of his time in Jamaica, where he grew up, and where his son is buried.
"When I get to the stage I feel the burden is too heavy, I just go. I look after Stephen’s grave, paint it up and make it look nice, that’s my job," he said.
Neville Lawrence and his ex-wife Baroness Doreen Lawrence have been lauded for their determination to get justice for their son.
They have both awarded OBEs and honorary doctorates.
The Metropolitan Police did not respond directly to Mr Lawrence’s comments and referred to Sir Mark’s comments following the Casey review, in which he said: "This report needs to lead to meaningful change. If it only leads to pillory and blame of the exceptional majority of officers, then only criminals will benefit."