Lawyer `hindered' Lawrence murder inquiry murder inquiry

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The Independent Online
A LAWYER acting for the bereaved family of Stephen Lawrence hindered the police investigation of the teenager's murder with a "confrontational" attitude, the officer in charge of the hunt said yesterday.

The inquiry into the racist murder of the black A-level student was told that solicitor Imran Khan "caused very real disruption", forcing a senior officer to write to him asking him to address his inquiries about progress in the case to police liaison officers, and not to Detective Superintendent Brian Weeden.

The claim was made in a written statement submitted to the inquiry yesterday by Det Supt Weeden and two colleagues.

The statement accused Mr Khan of "open opposition to the normal lines of family liaison which have been tried and tested in countless murders".

However, Det Supt Weeden, giving evidence later to the inquiry at Elephant and Castle, south London, said he had also been let down by the Lawrence family, who spurned written and verbal requests to meet him early in the inquiry.

"I was surprised and a little disappointed," said Det Supt Weeden, who took over the investigation several days after the killing and then led it for 18 months.

Stephen, 18, was stabbed at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993. The inquiry is being held to examine the failure of the police to secure any convictions in the case.

After yesterday's hearing, Azim Hajee, an official of the Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign, said: "The police have just tried to shift the blame for their failure on everyone else."