Victim's family vow to fight on

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The Independent Online
The parents of Stephen Lawrence, the 18-year-old A-level student murdered by a gang of racists, are considering resorting to the civil courts in their pursuit of justice, following Thursday's collapse of their private prosecution for murder.

They may now sue the three men they had accused of killing their son, who walked free from the Old Bailey on Thursday, after vital identification evidence was ruled inadmissible.

The family, who feel they were abandoned by the criminal justice system following Stephen's death in 1993, vowed to fight on after Neil Acourt, Luke Knight and Gary Dobson, were formally found not guilty.

The family is considering bringing an action for damages alleging trespass and assault. It would not be the first time the civil courts have been used in this way. In 1991 - in the first civil claim for murder - Gail Halford successfully sued Michael Brookes for the killing 13 years earlier of her daughter Lyn Siddons, after the police had failed to prosecute.

Another option, also being considered by Doreen and Neville Lawrence, is a claim for negligence against Scotland Yard, who they allege failed to respond quickly enough after Stephen's death - losing potentially vital forensic evidence.

Meanwhile Jonathan Jones, 37, cleared by the Court of Appeal on Thursday of murdering his girlfriend's parents, yesterday called for the case to be re-investigated by another police force. He was released from a life sentence after three appeal judges said his convictions for the killings of Harry Tooze, 63, and his 67-year-old wife Megan at their home in Mid Glamorgan. were unsafe.

Mr Jones was convicted at Newport Crown Court last year. There was no evidence linking him to the crime and even the trial judge expressed doubts over the conviction.