Lawrence fury as police escape charges

ONLY ONE police officer is to face serious disciplinary charges for the bungled investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, it was announced yesterday.

Four other senior Metropolitan Police officers who carried out the original inquiry into the killing of the 18-year-old black student would have faced similar charges, but they have all retired.

The serving officer, who faces a disciplinary tribunal into seven charges of neglect of duty, is due to retire this year. He is expected to be the only person to face a serious disciplinary punishment for the entire Lawrence debacle.

The announcement was made in a report published by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) yesterday, which concluded that there was no evidence to prove that any officer "consciously discriminated" against Stephen's parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence, during the investigation.

They reacted with anger and said: "The finding that there was no racism in the investigation is astonishing."

The PCA decision followed a damning report by Kent Police into the initial investigation by Scotland Yard of the stabbing to death of Stephen by a white gang near a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993. It also examined the subsequent internal inquiry by the Metropolitan Police, which cleared their colleagues' work. Kent found a succession of blunders and incompetence.

The one man to face charges is Detective Inspector Ben Bullock, who was second-in-command of the inquiry team.

In May last year the Lawrence public inquiry was told that Det Insp Bullock was given a damning professional appraisal by the senior officer who took over the murder investigation in July 1994.