No new Stephen Lawrence evidence found, says IPCC

 

Investigations into allegations of corruption at the heart of the
Stephen Lawrence investigation have turned up no new evidence, it has
been announced.

Reviews were carried out by both the Metropolitan Police Service and the police watchdog the Independent Complaints Commission (IPCC) after the claims earlier this year.

It followed reports alleging to have uncovered new evidence that corruption may have hampered the original investigation into the racist murder of the teenager in 1993.

David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted of Stephen's murder in January this year - 19 years after the crime - and sentenced to life at the Old Bailey.

Stephen's mother Doreen Lawrence called for a fresh public inquiry after it was claimed the Met Police withheld paperwork from the Macpherson Inquiry.

The force launched a review to examine the claims, while the IPCC reviewed its 2006 investigation into complaints following the broadcast that year of the BBC programme The Boys Who Killed Stephen Lawrence.

The watchdog said its review followed reports on allegations made by former Met police officer Neil Putnam about the relationship between former Detective Sergeant John Davidson and Clifford Norris, David Norris's father.

But today the IPCC said it found that no new information or evidence has been made available that would lead to a change in the conclusions reached by its original investigation into allegations made by the 2006 Panorama programme.

IPCC chief executive Jane Furniss said: "I commissioned this review as I was concerned by media reports that there may be new evidence to support a claim that police corruption in relation to former DS Davidson's relationship with Clifford Norris, the father of David Norris, played a part in hampering the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.

"As part of that review, the IPCC contacted the journalists responsible for the stories to determine whether they had or were aware of any new evidence that corruption had played a part in the original murder investigation into the death of Stephen Lawrence.

"However, despite the prominence afforded to these stories in the press, they did not provide any information or evidence to assist the review. We also contacted Mr and Mrs Lawrence's solicitors who confirmed that they had no new evidence or material that could assist the review.

"This was a thorough review, entailing consideration of the source material used in the original inquiry and undertaken by an experienced investigator with no previous involvement in the case."

In a separate review, the Met Police's Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) looked into claims that the force withheld information from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.

Officers from the DPS looked at thousands of documents, many dating to the 1980s, from Met Police archives and from government archives in Kew, and spoke to serving and retired officers as well as the Junior Counsel for the MPS at the inquiry.

The review found that no investigations, nor the inquiry, uncovered evidence of corruption or collusion which could have hampered or influenced the original, or subsequent, investigations.

It also found that the force disclosed all material relating to "adverse information" it had about three officers of concern, including those the claims surrounded. There was no other material known to be held by the force which suggested that corruption or collusion impacted on the initial investigation into Stephen's murder, and there are no new allegations from the recent claims, the force said.

Any allegations or suggestions had already been investigated by the Met and IPCC, it said.

Commander Peter Spindler, from the DPS, said: "We fully appreciate that Stephen's family want all their questions rightly answered. We hope this review goes at least some way to address their concerns and those that have appeared in the media.

"At this stage there are no new allegations or evidence that would merit further investigation. However, should any new information arise relating to alleged corruption in the original investigation into Stephen's murder, it would be seriously considered."

Both the IPCC and the Met said they shared the results of their reviews with the Lawrence family.

The IPCC also said it considered the Met's inquiries about allegations it withheld paperwork from the inquiry and found there was nothing in them which would impact its own review.

Commissioner Deborah Glass said: "The Metropolitan Police Service did not make any fresh referrals to the IPCC in relation to the case and we have therefore considered their findings only in light of our original investigation.

"We have always made clear to the Metropolitan Police, and we have reiterated this in light of recent reports, that if they have any fresh evidence that police corruption may have hampered the original murder investigation, they should refer it to us."

The IPCC said it was aware of calls for a new public inquiry but the request involved "issues wider than the IPCC review" and was "a matter for the Home Secretary to consider".

PA

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