Detective Inspector Ben Bullock, who last week was given two cautions in the only police disciplinary hearing over the the bungled inquiry, accused Neville and Doreen Lawrence of manipulating the case for political reasons. He said their actions and those of their legal team contributed to the failure of the investigation and thus Stephen's killers remaining free.
Mr Bullock said the Lawrence family had gone for "maximum publicity" following Stephen's fatal stabbing at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993. He said a visit by former South African president Nelson Mandela had put pressure on the police inquiry rather than furthering its cause.
"It would have been great to have used the Mandela visit as a vehicle to get our appeals across to the public but we were cut out of it and the whole thrust of the publicity seemed to be against us - the police," he said.