Police seek new Lawrence leads

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THE TEAM of detectives investigating the murder of Stephen Lawrence is following up several new leads, the Metropolitan Police said yesterday, nearly six years after the black teenager was stabbed by a racist gang.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve, the head of the force's task force for racial and violent crime, paid a visit last Wednesday to Eltham, in south-east London, where Stephen was attacked in April 1993. Mr Grieve walked around the murder scene and some of the surrounding streets.

Mr Grieve, who took charge of the murder squad 10 days ago, also hosted a meeting at Scotland Yard of all the intelligence analysts who have worked on the case. It was there that "a number of ways forward" were identified, according to a statement that was issued yesterday.

Scotland Yard declined to comment on reports yesterday that detectives were considering bringing new charges against the five men who are widely regarded as the prime suspects: Jamie and Neil Acourt, Gary Dobson, David Norris and Luke Knight.

That prospect had been considered an impossibility, especially in the cases of Neil Acourt, Knight and Dobson, who were acquitted of the murder in 1996 after the collapse of a private prosecution brought by Stephen's parents. But according to the reports, the police have received legal advice that they could prosecute members of the gang for conspiracy to murder, affray and assault, if they gather new evidence.

t Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, is due to receive the report of Sir William Macpherson of Cluny, who headed the Lawrence inquiry, on Friday.

Uncomfortable truth,

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