Black couple condemn inquiry into son's murder: Marianne Macdonald reports on the meeting between a grieving family and Nelson Mandela

STEPHEN LAWRENCE'S grieving family yesterday criticised the police investigation into their son's murder by a gang of white youths.

Speaking from a London hotel after meeting Nelson Mandela, president of the African National Congress, Doreen Lawrence, 40, a trainee teacher, castigated the police for failing to make arrests.

She warned: 'They are patronising us and when they do that to me I get very angry. They're not dealing with illiterate blacks. We're educated. It's time they woke up to our people.'

The family met Mr Mandela privately. He expressed sympathy for the stabbing of their 18-year-old son two weeks ago by a gang of up to six youths in Eltham, south-east London. Mr Mandela told them: 'I know what it means to lose a child under such tragic circumstances. I'm deeply touched by the brutality of this murder. It's something we are all too used to in South Africa where black lives are cheap.'

Stephen Lawrence, who hoped to be an architect, was an A-level student at Blackheath Bluecoat school. He was murdered late at night while waiting for a bus home to nearby Plumstead. He is the third black teenager to be stabbed to death in the borough of Greenwich in just over two years.

His murder has strengthened concern over the rise in racial violence in the borough. The Greenwich Action Committee Against Racist Attacks said 27 cases of arson were carried out by whites against blacks last year in the area. There was also 297 cases of abuse, 83 assaults and 178 cases of rubbish put through letterboxes.

Mrs Lawrence said that the police had been given names and addresses of the suspected murderers. 'I'm sure they know who these people are and they haven't arrested them. They are walking, eating and drinking and my son is lying on some slab.'

The family is convinced concern would have been far greater had their son been white. The family is also angry to have received no condolences from the Government.

Scotland Yard denied police had failed to arrest the murderers. 'Our investigations are being carried out vigorously by dedicated officers. We are confident we will arrest and charge the people responsible.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sewing Technician

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leader in Medical Devices is...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior IT Support / Projects Engineer

£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Bench Joiner & Wood Machinist

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This busy local Joinery company...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence