Who was Stephen Lawrence? What happened to him, who were his killers and how old was he when he was murdered

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Stephen Lawrence’s family fought for decades before finally getting justice for their son

The murder of Stephen Lawrence shocked a nation.

The young black teenager was killed by a gang of white men in a racially motivated attack, whilst waiting for a bus home.

His racially-motivated murder shocked the UK and led to changes in attitudes towards racism in society, as well as the Metropolitan Police and judicial system.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Here’s everything you need to know about Stephen Lawrence and if his killers were apprehended.

Who was Stephen Lawrence?

Stephen Lawarence was an 18-year-old who was attacked and murdered by a gang of men, whilst waiting for a bus in Eltham, south east London.

Lawrence’s family fought for decades before finally getting justice for their son.

The original handling of the case was heavily criticised and the public inquiry into the Metropolitan Police in 1997 found that they were: “institutionally racist.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What happened to Stephen Lawrence?

On 22 April, 1993, Lawrence and his friend Duwayne Brooks were waiting at a bus stop in Eltham, south east London when they were attacked by a gang of white men.

Brooks managed to escape unhurt, but Lawrence was stabbed several times. He managed to flee from his attackers, but died from his injuries.

How old was Stephen Lawrence when he was murdered?

Lawrence was just 18-years-old when he was murdered waiting at a bus stop in Eltham.

He was a dedicated student, who was studying for his A-Levels and had aspirations of becoming an architect.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Who were his killers and did he get justice?

After the murder, witnesses came forward naming a gang, which had been linked with other racist attacks in the area.

Gary Dobson, Neil and Jamie Acourt, Luke Knight and David Norris, were identified as suspects and arrested after they were identified by Duwayne Brooks. However, the case was dropped in July as Brooks’ testimony was not deemed enough for prosecution.

Lawrence’s parents, Doreen and Neville brought a private prosecution against Acourt, Knight and Dobson, but Brooks’ testimony was once again not deemed enough.

Doreen and Neville fought for justice for their son for decades, meeting with dignitaries including Nelson Mandela to raise awareness of their campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Finally, in 2012 after new evidence was uncovered, two of the accused, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of his murder and were both sent to prison on a life sentence.

The other suspects were never held accountable and as of August 2020, the Metropolitan Police declared Stephen’s case as “inactive.”

What happened in the Stephen Lawrence inquiry?

In response to the failings, in 1997 there was a public inquiry into the role of the Metropolitan police into Stepehen Lawrence’s murder.

Chaired by Sir William MacPherson, it found that they were, “institutionally racist,” and put forward 70 recommendations to reform both the police service and law.

When is Stephen Lawrence Day?

Stephen Lawrence Day was first celebrated in 2019.

It is held on the day of Lawrence’s murder and celebrates his life and legacy.

You can find out more about Stephen Lawrence Day on their website here.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.