April 22, 1993: the murder of Stephen Lawrence

Brian Cathcart recalls the impact of Stephen Lawrence’s death on Britain

The World Today
2 minute READ

Brian Cathcart

Professor of journalism, Kingston University London and the author of ‘The Case of Stephen Lawrence’

It is 25 years since Britain’s most notorious race murder, when a black 18-year-old school student was stabbed to death at a London bus stop by a gang of white youths. The anniversary naturally prompts questions about the state of the country today, and particularly about what changes the case may have inspired.

It was not the circumstances of the killing themselves that made the case famous, although they were striking enough. Stephen Lawrence was with a black friend, Duwayne Brooks, close to a bus stop where three white people were also waiting. Only the two young black men were attacked, and one of their assailants was heard to call out the word ‘nigger’. The racist motive could hardly have been clearer.

It took almost four years to become a cause célèbre and then it was because no one had been convicted and the Lawrence family were insisting that police racism was to blame.

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