Neville Lawrence campaigned tirelessly to bring the killers of his son Stephen Lawrence to justice and is now working to tackle knife crime in London
Neville arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1960 and made a living as a handyman and decorator. In 1972, aged 30, he married Doreen and Stephen was born in 1974, the first of three children.
After police failed to follow up vital leads in the investigation into Stephen’s death, Neville and Doreen accused the Metropolitan Police of bungling the case.
In 1999, a judicial inquiry into the police investigation chaired by Sir William MacPherson accused the Met of “professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers”.
In 2012, as a result of new evidence, two of the original suspects were subsequently convicted of Stephen’s death and are both serving life sentences.
The couple divorced in 1999. Neville, who received an OBE in 2003, said of the split: “Our world began falling apart from the moment the hospital staff told us our son had died”.
He returned to Jamaica, where Stephen is buried, but works with organisations in the UK combatting knife crime, announcing in 2017 that he would chair a group of community leaders from across London to advise the authorities on how to tackle the surge.
Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick has personally backed the scheme.
In 2017 Neville took part in the BBC programme, Stephen: The Murder That Changed a Nation.
In an interview about the three-part docu-drama he said the death of his son had triggered social change. “When these boys killed my son Stephen, they created a legend”, he said. “There is debate about racism, there are organisations set up to help to make people understand about racism, the police have been put under the spotlight because of Stephen’s death”.
On April 22, 2018, the 25th anniversary of Stephen’s death, the prime minister Theresa May announced that the inaugural annual Stephen Lawrence Day would be held, the following year.