Advertisement

Father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence revisits spot in Eltham where his son was killed 25 years ago

The father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has revisited the spot in south east London where his son was killed 25 years ago.

Credit: ITV News

A quarter of a century on, returning to the scene in Eltham is so emotionally draining for Neville Lawrence it is the only visit he will make to mark the anniversary.

I have to start thinking whether or not I'm dreaming. I'm still alive because I thought I'd die after all what was happening. I don't know how I've been able to survive so long. I don't know how.

– Neville Lawrence

This is the now iconic photograph of Stephen Lawrence whose story has come to symbolise the battle against racism.

A bright, confident young man, he was simply waiting at a bus stop when he was chased and stabbed by a gang of racist thugs.

The original suspects strutted and grinned when they appeared at the public inquiry. It took 18 years before two - David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted.

David Norris (top), Gary Dobson

In what he calls the hardest decision he has ever made Neville Lawrence says his Christian faith means he has to forgive his son's killers - a decision made easier because Stephen's murder put racism under the spotlight.

I've lost so much. In the space of how long they took to kill my son, it's destroyed so much.

But, the thing that makes me feel good, in a sense, is that when these guys - when these racist guys decided to kill my son, they didn't realise what they were doing.

Instead of killing my son they have destroyed their own lives and they have made my son into a legend.

– Neville Lawrence

Secretly filmed video of the accused making racist comments was part of the evidence used to convict the suspects in 2012.

Surveillance video Credit: Met Police

But the first investigation into Stephen's killing was marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and alleged corruption.

The Met Police says it may now be forced to close the case if there are no new leads. But Neville Lawrence says he will never give up.

I'm not going to stop. I don't care what decision the Met Police make to scale down. We've had some justice. But I'd love total justice.

– Neville Lawrence

The unprovoked attack on Stephen Lawrence had a profound and lasting impact on attitudes to race relations but the passage of time has not been able to heal this father's pain.