Doreen and Neville Lawrence: who are the parents of Stephen Lawrence and where are they now?

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ITV’s drama ‘Stephen’ continued on Monday (6 September) following the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The three-part drama also examines the impact of the case on Stephen’s parents, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and Neville Lawrence.

The pair are both active campaigners for racial justice in the UK.

Here’s all you need to know about the parents of Stephen Lawrence.

Who is Baroness Doreen Lawrence?

Baroness Doreen Lawrence is the mother of Stephen Lawrence.

Baroness Lawrence was thrust into the spotlight after Stephen was murdered at a bus stop in South East London in 1993.

Alongside her husband Neville, the couple campaigned for police reform, attempting to tackle institutional racism within the Metropolitan Police.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)Baroness Doreen Lawrence (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
Baroness Doreen Lawrence (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Doreen’s role in campaigning for justice contributed to the creation of the Macpherson Report, an inquiry that promoted necessary reforms of the UK police service.

In 1998 the Lawrence family established the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust which aims to promote a positive community legacy in their son’s name.

Baroness Lawrence also established an official Stephen Lawrence Day.

In 2003, Baroness Lawrence was awarded an OBE for services to community relations, and in 2013 she was appointed Baroness. She sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords as a working peer.

Neville Lawrence (LEON NEAL/AFP via Getty Images)Neville Lawrence (LEON NEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Neville Lawrence (LEON NEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Who is Neville Lawrence?

Neville Lawrence is the father of Stephen Lawrence.

Mr Lawrence was married to Doreen Lawrence, until the couple divorced in 1999. Like Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Neville became a prominent human rights campaigner.

Over the last 20 years , Mr Lawrence has worked with activists and the media to highlight how racism, violence and discrimination still exists today.

He became the co-chair of the Violent Crime Prevention Board in 2018, working closely with the Home Office. He later left the role saying: “they [Home Office] weren’t doing the things I wanted them to do. They were supposed to be concentrating on measures to help the police reform, and I don’t think they were doing that. But I felt that I didn’t have a voice.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 in 2020, 27 years after his son Stephen’s murder, he said: "I will never stop fighting for justice for my son who is lying underground in Jamaica.”

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Lawrence resettled in Jamaica, and lives close to his son’s grave.

Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Lawrence said that returning to Jamaica wasn’t necessarily something he desired to do, but he needed some kind of release.

He said:  “If I hadn’t gone home, I wouldn’t have developed into the state where I can talk to you now. The first thing that ran through my mind after the death of Stephen is that I wasn’t going to live very long after that. I’m not saying I was going to kill myself, but people die from broken hearts. It was such a senseless thing."

What is ITV’s ‘Stephen’ about?

Stephen is set 16 years after ITV’s The Murder of Stephen of Lawrence, in 2006, a year after English law abolished “double jeopardy”, the idea that you could not be tried twice for the same charges.

The campaign for justice in the Stephen Lawrence case spanned two decades, despite the murderers being identified soon after the murder.

The series will tell the story of Stephen’s parents, Doreen and Neville, and that of DCI Clive Driscoll, as they put together an investigation that finally secures the convictions of two of the gang who committed the murder of Stephen.