CPS upholds decision not to charge Stephen Lawrence murder probe officers

A decision not to charge police officers involved in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has been upheld by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The CPS said it will not be bringing criminal charges against four Metropolitan Police officers involved in the case after an “extensive review” which reconsidered whether they had committed offences of misconduct in public office.

Mr Lawrence, 18, was murdered by a gang of racists in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993 as he ran to catch a bus with his friend, Duwayne Brooks.

Only two of his killers – Gary Dobson and David Norris – have ever been brought to justice.

The CPS said it understands the news will be “extremely disappointing for Stephen’s family and friends”.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Brooks said: “As someone affected by these senior officers’ decision-making skills, I have no idea whether today’s decision or the original decision by the CPS is a credible one, as I have not seen the report.”

The decision follows a request under the Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme and was carried out by a prosecutor who was independent of the original review.

It represents a final decision by the CPS.

In April, Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley apologised to Mr Lawrence’s mother, Baroness (Doreen) Lawrence, for not fulfilling a promise to answer questions stemming from a BBC investigation into the teenager’s murder.

The Macpherson Report, published in 1999 following a public inquiry, found that the original investigation into Mr Lawrence’s death was hampered by institutional racism in the London police force.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS’s Special Crime Division, said: “The unprovoked and racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 shocked the nation, and had a vast impact on the criminal justice system in the years that followed.

“Significant changes were made to policy and legislation in the wake of Stephen’s death, and in 2012 the CPS was able to successfully prosecute two men for his murder – Gary Dobson and David Norris – due to a change in double jeopardy laws.

“Following our decision in July 2023 not to bring criminal charges against four police officers involved in the initial six weeks of the investigation into Stephen’s murder, we received a request to review the decision under the Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme.

“An extensive review of that decision, which involved an independent prosecutor re-examining a substantial amount of evidence and material in the case, has now been completed.

“Offences of misconduct in public office were reconsidered, but the review upheld the original decision not to bring any criminal charges against the four officers in the case.

“We understand this news will be extremely disappointing for Stephen’s family and friends, and the CPS has offered to meet with close family members to explain our reasoning in further detail.”