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Stephen Lawrence detectives will not face prosecution

Four retired detectives who ran the first Stephen Lawrence murder investigation should not face criminal charges for their actions in the case, a review has concluded.

The review, by a senior lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), upholds a previous decision not to prosecute, which was challenged by Stephen’s parents and friend.

It found there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore none of the four will be charged.

Stephen was murdered in April 1993 in a racist attack in south London.

The CPS said it understood the decision not to prosecute would be “extremely disappointing” for Stephen’s family and friends and it had offered to meet close family members to explain its reasoning in detail.

The initial investigation failed to bring anyone to justice – although two men were jailed in 2012 for Stephen’s murder.

The officers had been investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), but last year the CPS chose not to pursue a criminal prosecution after considering a file of evidence.

A victim’s right to review the charging decision was triggered by Stephen’s parents, Dr Neville Lawrence and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and his friend Duwayne Brooks, who was present during the attack.

The CPS review decision means no officers have been held criminally responsible for what is widely seen as one of Scotland Yard’s biggest disasters.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said there had been an “extensive review” of their decision in July last year not to bring criminal charges against the four officers after the family’s challenge.

She said the review “involved an independent prosecutor re-examining a substantial amount of evidence and material in the case”.

“Offences of misconduct in public office were reconsidered, but the review upheld the original decision not to bring any criminal charges against the four officers in the case,” she said.