Scotland Yard arrest man for murder of Stephen Lawrence

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The Independent Online

A 27-year-old labourer was arrested on suspicion of murdering Stephen Lawrence in what is thought to be a significant development in the investigation into the killing of the black teenager.

Scotland Yard detectives investigating the murder of the 18-year-old student continued to question the man last night.

He was also arrested over the alleged illegal possession of ammunition that was found by police on Monday night at his family home in south London. The unmarried "odd-job" man was arrested at work just after 10am in south-east London. He is not one of the five men previously arrested for the murder in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April 1993, and named by police at the time as prime suspects. The man is suspected of being part of the gang who surrounded Stephen and stabbed him to death close to a bus stop.

In the past year, detectives investigating Stephen's killing have concentrated on two suspects, who have not previously been arrested. Three witnesses to the murder, including Stephen's friend Duwayne Brooks, described seeing "five or six" people take part in the attack.

Soon after Stephen's murder, five men – brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight – were arrested and named by police as prime suspects but proceedings against Neil Acourt and Knight were discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Stephen's parents, Neville and Doreen Lawrence, took up a private prosecution against the five following the CPS's decision but the case against Jamie Acourt and Norris was dropped at the committal stage.

Neil Acourt, Knight and Dobson stood trial for murder at the Old Bailey in April 1996 but a week after the start of proceedings, the jury was ordered to find the defendants not guilty after the judge decided Mr Brooks's evidence was unreliable.