Police name major suspect in murder of Stephen Lawrence for first time
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The Met Police has for the first time publicly named a major suspect in the murder case of British teen Stephen Lawrence.
The Met Police has consistently said there were six attackers involved in Lawrence's death, though only five suspects were arrested in the initial police investigation.
No one was convicted until 2012, when two of the original suspects, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were found guilty of murder.
The other three suspects, Luke Knight and brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, have not been convicted.
In 2020, then-Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced that the Met had followed all lines of inquiry in the case and that it was now 'inactive'.
More than a decade after the sentencing of Dobson and Norris, the Met has now named another major suspect: Matthew White.
White was previously named as a witness in the trial of Norris and Dobson, but his name has been shared as a suspect after an investigation by the BBC, which re-examined the case, traced witnesses and looked at police documents.
It found that the Met Police seriously mishandled key inquiries related to him, and raised questions about Scotland Yard's decision to stop investigating the case in 2020.
The BBC investigation found that witnesses had specifically recalled White telling them he had been present during the attack against Lawrence.
Evidence found his alibi given for the time of the attack was false, and police surveillance photos of White bore resemblance to eyewitness accounts of a fair-haired attacker who went unidentified at the time.
Among other things, the investigation also found that one of White's relatives had attempted to speak to the Met after the murder, but the lead was not pursued due to incorrect information being entered into the police database.
The lead was followed 20 years later, when the relative said that White had admitted to being present during the attack.
The Met Police has since described the handling of the approach by White's relative as 'a significant and regrettable error'.
After the investigation, the Met confirmed White as a suspect, saying: "Unfortunately, too many mistakes were made in the initial investigation."
White was arrested twice by police in connection with the murder, once in 2000 and once in 2013.
Files were sent to the Crown Prosecution Service in 2005 and 2014, but on both occasions, prosecutors said there was no realistic prospect of conviction.
White died in 2021 at the age of 50.
A statement from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward admits the impact of the mistakes made by the Met Police 'continue to be seen'.
LADbible has reached out to the Met Police for further comment.