Bungling UK police prolonged my agony: Lawrence's mother

3rd January 2012, Comments 0 comments

The mother of a black British teenager stabbed to death 18 years ago hit out at the police Tuesday after two white men were found guilty of his murder.

Doreen Lawrence, who has fought a long battle for justice since her son Stephen was killed in London in 1993, said she felt relief, but admitted it was mixed with anger.

"Despite the verdicts, today is not a cause for celebration," she told a scrum of reporters outside the Old Bailey court in London after Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were found guilty in an emotionally charged trial.

"How can I celebrate when my son lies buried, when I cannot see him or speak to him, I will not see him grow up or go to university or get married or have children?" she said.

"These verdicts will not bring my son back. How can I celebrate when I know that this day could have come 18 years ago if the police who were meant to find my son's killers (had not) failed so miserably to do so."

The original investigation into the murder was strewn with errors and led to an inquiry by a senior judge who concluded in 1999 that London's Metropolitan Police were "institutionally racist".

The trial was the culmination of a series of attempts to bring the killers to justice. The prosecution case was built on forensic evidence that was not available to police earlier in the investigation.

But defence lawyers for Dobson and Norris attempted to show that the evidence had been incorrectly stored, allowing samples to become contaminated.

Doreen Lawrence said: "Had the police done their job properly, I would have spent the last 18 years grieving for my son rather than fighting to get his killers to court.

"Despite the police saying this case was so important to them the exhibits were treated in such a way the defence could suggest contamination.

"This result shows that the police can do their jobs properly -- but only if they want to."

She also warned against complacency as a result of the verdict.

"The fact is that racism and racist attacks are still happening in this country and the police should not use my son's name to say that we can move on."

© 2012 AFP

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