No rehousing for Lawrence suspects

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The Independent Online
A REQUEST by two of the murder suspects in the Stephen Lawrence case to be rehoused because of fears for their safety has been rejected on the advice of the Metropolitan Police.

Neil Acourt, 23, and his brother Jamie, 22, asked Greenwich Borough Council to move them after receiving what they said was a threatening letter from an anti-racist group. A council spokeswoman said yesterday that Scotland Yard had failed to support their application, stating that it did not believe the brothers were in serious danger. She said the housing department is working "flat out" to solve problems caused by the accidental inclusion of names and addresses of police informants in the appendix to Sir William Mac-pherson of Cluny's report on the Lawrence case. Eighty people, including the local Labour MP, Clive Efford, are under police protection after the appendix was published.

The council said 11 families and individuals had asked to be moved because they feared attacks and intimidation after being named, and all have been accepted for transfers. Six transfers have been completed, three are being processed and two involving transfers outside Greenwich are being arranged.

The council said that all requests to be rehoused on grounds of harassment were passed to police for evaluation.

The Acourt brothers are among five men regarded as prime suspects in Stephen's murder. The others are David Norris, 22, Gary Dobson, 23, and Luke Knight, 23. The brothers made their request to be moved "as a matter of urgency" through their mother, Patricia, with whom they live in Blackheath, south-east London.

The family has already been rehoused once. At the time of the murder they lived in Eltham, near the bus stop where Stephen was stabbed to death by a white racist gang.

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