Undercover police operations spanning decades may have led to wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice, the Home Secretary has warned, in the wake of "profoundly shocking" findings of a major review into the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.
In a dramatic day of disclosures concerning the original police probe into Stephen's death,
Theresa May announced a judge-led public inquiry is to be launched into the work of covert police and Scotland Yard's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) - the top secret unit that was up and running for nearly 40 years.
Police moles fell under the glare of the review, which was conducted by Mark Ellison QC, after a former SDS officer Peter Francis claimed he had been deployed undercover from September 1993 and tasked to "smear" the Lawrence family campaign.
The report also found that one of the officers on the original investigation into his death, detective sergeant John Davidson, may have acted corruptly.
It was claimed that Davidson had admitted having a "corrupt connection" with Clifford Norris, the gangland boss father of David Norris who was finally convicted of Stephen's murder in 2012.
Doreen Lawrence told ITV News it was a "disgrace" that the Metropolitan Police were "spying" on her family when they were mourning the loss of their son:
Later in the House of Lords, Baroness Lawrence, fighting back the tears, said: "I believed that there was corruption at the start of Stephen's case and it's taken over a year for that, but it's taken nearly 21 years since Stephen's been killed, and the fact that we as a family had to go through all this and still there's more to come out.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach was himself reduced to tears as he read out an apology on behalf of the Home Office:
Stephen Lawrence, 18, a would-be architect, was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white youths in an unprovoked racist attack as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, with a friend on April 22nd 1993.