Stephen Lawrence's mother Doreen says she 'feels in pain' over death

Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen tells Loose Women’s first ever all-black panel she ‘still feels in pain’ 27 years after his racist murder and ‘hasn’t come to terms with his death’

  • It is 27 years since Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in Eltham, London
  • Mother Baroness Doreen appeared on Loose Women talk discuss her grief today
  • Revealed: ‘I haven’t come to terms with Stephen’s death. I’m still feeling the pain’
  • She said she has spent ‘so long fighting for justice’ that her life has been ‘on hold’ 
  • interview comes after Dame Cressida Dick said the inquiry had run out of leads

Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen has revealed she ‘still feels in pain’ over his racist murder 27 years ago during an interview on Loose Women.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence, 67, appeared on the ITV programme today as she spoke about suffering from ‘delayed grief’, revealing: ‘I’ve spent so long working, challenging, trying to get justice for Stephen, that part of my life has been part on hold. 

‘Even though I’ve been therapy for about five years, I still feel I haven’t come to terms with Stephen’s death. I’m still feeling the pain of it.’

Her appearance on the show comes months after Met police chief Dame Cressida Dick said the inquiry into his death had run out of leads.

Stephen Lawrence’s mother Baroness Doreen, 67, has revealed she ‘still feels in pain’ over his racist murder during an interview on Loose Women today 

The Baroness appeared on the programme as Loose Women made history with four black presenters joining the panel for debates for the first time ever today.

The morning programme bought together presenter Charlene White, 40, with comedian Judi Love, 40, actress Kelle Bryan, 41, and singer Brenda Edwards, 51, for the panel.

After introducing Doreen on the show, host Charlene commented: ‘You have recently spoken about delayed grief, which is almost unsurprising because of how much work you’ve had to do in your fight for justice.’

Doreen explained she remains ‘in pain’ over her son’s murder, saying: ‘I think watching certain things on TV, I always feel really upset.

‘If there’s a death in someone’s family or a young child is hurt, I get really teary eyed about it.’ 

Meanwhile presenter Kelle Bryan praised Stephen’s incredible legacy before asking her: ‘Do you find any comfort in the legacy and the changes that Stephen’s death has been? There have been some amazing positive outcomes from that.’

The 67-year-old said she feels she ‘still hasn’t come to terms’ with her son’s death, despite being in therapy for five years 

Doreen explained: ‘Definitely – to see what young people who have gone through the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust’s bursary programme have achieved…’

‘Looking back, I think my son should have been at that position but I feel so proud of what they’ve done and what they’ve achieved. That’s all been through Stephen’s legacy.’

She continued: ‘Without his legacy, I wouldn’t have met the young people I have over the years and watched them grow.’

Fellow panelist Judi Love went on to ask Doreen about an upcoming film about Stephen’s life, Never Forget’, which is set to be released tomorrow six months ahead of Stephen Lawrence Day 2021.

Murdered: Stephen Lawrence, pictured, was killed back in April 1993. In September, the Met police have announced that the inquiry into his death has entered an ‘inactive phase’

The film stars a blend of famous and non-famous multicultural Britons speaking to camera about Stephen’s legacy, 28 years since his murder. 

It ends with a call for viewers to ‘Help us create a legacy of change’, offering information on how schools, businesses, organisations and individuals can get involved. 

Doreen explained: ‘Over the years, the Stephen Lawrence name has been something but I wanted there to be a Stephen Lawrence day. 

She said: ‘Its just been so fantastic, everyone signing up. I’ve seen it and it’s bought tears to my eyes that everybody is so much about the legacy and the foundation and all the people who have helped me get to this point.’

The Loose Women panel praised Doreen as ‘inspirational’ and ‘a trailblazer’, while commending her for continuing Stephen’s legacy 

She went on to reveal her plans for the next year working with the foundation, saying: ‘Come 2021, it’ll be working with schools and communities and making sure people understand as we move forward what Stephen’s legacy is about and young people feel they are part of it as we try to develop a foundation.’

Meanwhile Doreen also spoke briefly about working with Coronation Street on their racism storyline.

She said: ‘I think sometimes you can ignore racism for a while but the main fact that somebody stood up, we have to do that.

‘I think that’s what I have tried to do. Stand up for discrimination, the injustice, the inequality.’

During the interview with the ITV panellists, Doreen argued the government ‘needs to recognise that things need to change’ and urged the women to ‘stand up for discrimination’

She continued: ‘I think one of the things that we talk about with George Floyd and the marches, is we have to be seen and recognised. The government needs to recognise that things need to change.’

Brenda went on to praise Doreen as a ‘trailblazer’ and an inspiration, with Doreen replying: ‘It’s about injustice I feel. If you look at the history from the time of Stephen’s death till now, it’s been a constantly challenging and having to step up each time you feel there’s something not right.

‘Without Stephen as a person, his courage has helped me. He was such an important part within our family. We wanted to make sure his legacy continued. It’s a legacy that young people can identify with.’

The interview comes months after Stephen Lawrence’s mother accused Scotland Yard of giving up on her son after the force effectively conceded defeat in its quest to nail all of his racist killers. 

The Baroness said she had been inspired by her son’s courage to continue to fight for justice and uphold his legacy 

In August, Met chief Dame Cressida Dick released a carefully-worded statement 27 years after the teenager was murdered, saying the inquiry had run out of leads.

She announced the inquiry – which has cost tens of millions of pounds – had entered an ‘inactive phase’.

Although two men were convicted of killing Stephen in 2012, the remainder of a gang of at least five white youths involved in the attack are now unlikely to ever face prosecution.

Stephen, an 18-year-old A-level student, was murdered in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993.

Over 27 agonising years: How the story unfolded 

April 22, 1993: Stephen Lawrence is stabbed to death as he waits at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London.

May-June, 1993: Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt, Gary Dobson, Luke Knight and David Norris are arrested in connection with his murder.

July 1993: Crown Prosecution Service formally discontinues the prosecution.

December 1993: Southwark coroner Sir Montague Levine halts an inquest into Mr Lawrence’s death after the family’s barrister, Michael Mansfield QC, says there is new evidence in the case.

April 1994: The CPS says the new evidence is insufficient to support murder charges.

September 1994: The Lawrence family begins a private prosecution against Neil Acourt, Mr Knight and Dobson.

December 1994: Secret video evidence is filmed showing Dobson and Norris making obscene racist remarks.

April 1996: The private prosecution against Neil Acourt, Mr Knight and Dobson begins at the Old Bailey but collapses after identification evidence is ruled inadmissible. The three are acquitted.

February 1997: An inquest jury finds that Stephen was ‘unlawfully killed by five white youths’. The Daily Mail runs a front page story with pictures of the suspects under the headline ‘Murderers’.

DECEMBER 1997: A Police Complaints Authority report on the original police investigation of Stephen’s murder identifies ‘significant weaknesses, omissions and lost opportunities’.

February 1999: The Macpherson Report finds the police guilty of mistakes and ‘institutional racism.’ It also suggested a rethink of the principle of ‘double jeopardy’ laws.

April 1999: The five arrested in 1993 deny involvement in a TV interview.

September 2002: Norris and Neil Acourt are jailed for 18 months for a racist attack on off-duty policeman Gareth Reid.

May 2004: The CPS announces there is ‘insufficient evidence’ to prosecute anyone for the murder.

April 2005: Double jeopardy is scrapped if there is new evidence.

May 2011: The Court of Appeal agrees that Dobson’s 1996 murder acquittal can be quashed.

From the Daily Mail, March 7, 2014

November 2011: The trial of Dobson and Norris for Stephen’s murder begins.

January 2012: Dobson and Norris are found guilty of murder at Old Bailey.

March 2013: A review by Mark Ellison QC finds that a Met ‘spy’ was working within the ‘Lawrence family camp’ during the course of the judicial inquiry into matters arising from his death.

March 2015: Then-home secretary Theresa May launches an inquiry into undercover policing following the report of the Ellison Inquiry.

October 2015: The National Crime Agency announces that the Met are being investigated for alleged corruption over their initial handling of the case.

April 2018: Scotland Yard admits it has no new lines of inquiry in the investigation into Stephen’s murder.

April 2019: Then-prime minister Theresa May marks the first Stephen Lawrence Day.

August 2020: The Met announces that there are no further lines of inquiry in the murder probe. 

However, a bungled police inquiry meant that no arrests were made for two weeks after his death.

In February 1997, the Daily Mail took the unprecedented step of naming the five suspects – Gary Dobson, David Norris and three others – as Stephen’s killers.

Under the front-page headline ‘Murderers’, the paper challenged the gang to sue. 

But they never did and former Labour home secretary Jack Straw has since stated that the Mail’s front page and subsequent ‘Justice for Stephen’ campaign played a crucial role in his decision to set up the Macpherson public inquiry into botched handling of the case, which branded the Met ‘institutionally racist’.

Following a DNA breakthrough, Dobson, now 45, and Norris, now 43, were found guilty in 2012 of stabbing the teenager. 

They had been named as suspects within 48 hours of the stabbing in April 1993. No others were ever charged.

Pictured: Britain’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick (L) poses for a photograph with Doreen Lawrence (R) as they arrive to attend a memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square in London, on April 23, 2018. In September, Dick made the announcement to say that the inquiry was entering an ‘inactive phase’

Portrait of the five thugs in the spotlight 

David Norris, now 43

Norris, who has five children from various relationships, was jailed for a minimum of 14 years and three months when convicted of Stephen’s murder in 2012.

The gangster’s son grew up in leafy Chislehurst, miles from his fellow gang members who were raised in the more deprived area of Eltham.

Norris, who has convictions for violence and racism, sought £10,000 in damages after he was beaten up in jail in 2017. In 2002, he was jailed for abusing an off-duty police officer on the same road where he and four others had slain Stephen nine years earlier.

Gary Dobson, now 45

Dobson is serving a life sentence in HMP Warren Hill, Suffolk, after he and David Norris were convicted of Stephen’s murder in 2012 when new forensic evidence linked them to the killing.

The father of two was jailed for a minimum of 15 years, two months, and his earliest release date could be 2026.

For 20 years he maintained his innocence but effectively admitted his guilt in 2013 when he abandoned an appeal against his conviction.

Gary Dobson (left) and David Norris were both convicted of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 2012 at the Old Bailey

Jamie Acourt, now 44

Acourt is 18 months into a nine-year jail sentence over a £4million cannabis plot having spent years in Spain on the run.

In 2018 he was found in Barcelona, where he had lived for two years as Simon Alfonzo. He was arrested over Stephen’s murder in 1993 but, like his brother Neil, was never convicted.

At his sentencing for the drug plot in 2018, his barrister claimed the only reason he hid was that he feared the press coverage he would get after years of being dogged by stories about his suspected involvement in the murder.

Neil Acourt, now 45

Neil Acourt was released from prison last year after being jailed for his part in a £4million drugs racket.

He was seen just two miles from where Stephen was murdered last April while out on licence, loading tools into a van. Acourt was never convicted of Stephen’s murder but was jailed for 18 months in 2002 for a racist attack on an off-duty black detective then imprisoned in 2017 for his role in the drug-smuggling operation. In 1994 a police surveillance team filmed him making appalling racist remarks.

Luke Knight, now 43

Knight was never convicted as there was insufficient evidence linking him with the murder. He is the only one of the five arrested over Stephen’s killing who does not have a conviction.

He was held in 1993 over the murder but was released. He appeared in court again in 1996 when Stephen’s parents brought a private prosecution, but walked free when it collapsed.   

Left: Jamie Acourt, now 44; Centre: Neil Acourt, now 45; Right: Luke Knight, now 43

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