Lawrence Officer 'Corrupt'

A review's found evidence of corruption among police working on the original investigation into the murder of South London teenager Stephen Lawrence.

There was a high level of suspicion that former Detective Sergeant John Davidson was corrupt both before and after he worked on the police investigation, a report by Mark Ellison QC says.

The review adds there are still lines of inquiry that may be capable of providing evidence of corruption among other officers, although that evidence does not currently exist.

Stephen, 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 22 April 1993. It took more than 18 years to bring two of Stephen's killers to justice.

Mr Ellison QC, who was commissioned by the Home Secretary to conduct the review, successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris for Stephen's murder in 2012.

The Ellison report says that, in late July 1998, Scotland Yard's Anti-Corruption Command held a debriefing with former Detective Constable Neil Putnam, in which he made claims against Mr Davidson.

The barrister says that both the intelligence picture suggesting Mr Davidson was a corrupt officer and the content of Mr Putnam's debriefing should have been revealed to the public inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson.

"It is a source of some concern to us that nobody in the MPS who was aware of the detail of what Neil Putnam was saying about Mr Davidson appears to have thought to ask him about Mr Davidson's motives in the Lawrence case," the report says.

After the Macpherson report was published in 1999, Mr Putnam, who was jailed for his own, separate corruption offences in 1998, alleged that, in the summer of 1994, Mr Davidson had admitted having a "corrupt connection" with Clifford Norris, the convicted drug-smuggling father of Stephen's murderer David.

Mr Ellison says that, while independent corroboration of Mr Putnam's allegation does not currently exist, there are "outstanding lines of inquiry" that could be investigated, which may change that assessment.

The barrister adds that "it is not impossible to envisage that the inquiry might have been driven to the conclusion that there must have been more to John Davidson's failure to develop information and evidence in the Lawrence investigation than simply an inappropriate manner and unfortunate unconscious racism".

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