Boy, 15, held over teacher's murder

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The Independent Online

Crime Correspondent

A 15-year-old boy was being held in custody last night after being arrested in connection with the murder of Philip Lawrence, the headmaster who was stabbed outside his school.

The youth was seized at an address in Kentish Town, north London, and questioned at an unnamed police station in the centre of the capital.

He was also arrested in connection with an alleged assault on a juvenile. This is believed to be the 13-year-old pupil whom Mr Lawrence was trying to protect from a gang of youths when he was murdered outside St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale, north-west London, last month.

The teenager, who is not a pupil at St George's, was detained at 9.35am. Further arrests are expected. Police described yesterday's development as "very significant".

Mr Lawrence, 48, died on 9 December, 12 hours after receiving a single stab wound to the heart. Police believe he was killed after a dispute between two teenage gangs.

The youth being held can be detained for 24 hours before police must charge or release him. Alternatively they can obtain a 12-hour extension from a senior police officer, but he can only be held after that with the approval of a magistrate.

Detectives investigating the murder have spent the Christmas period working through dozens of statements and earlier in the month travelled to Paris to question a witness.