In the Media

Lawrence suspect's father 'paid officer'

PUBLISHED July 26, 2006

AN INQUIRY is to be held into allegations that a detective in the Stephen Lawrence murder team was in the pay of the criminal father of a suspect.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is also examining a claim that plans to pass the information to the Macpherson inquiry into the case were suppressed by Scotland Yard officers.

In 1993 Stephen Lawrence, a student aged 18, was stabbed in a racist attack in southeast London. No one has ever been convicted of the killing but five men ? Neil Acourt, his brother Jamie, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight ? were arrested soon afterwards. Three were acquitted of murder after a private prosecution collapsed in 1996.

The allegations are made by Neil Putnam, a corrupt drugs-squad officer who turned supergrass against other officers, and was himself jailed, although a senior officer described him as a credible witness. The IPCC has ordered an investigation after a preview of a BBC programme to be shown tonight in which he alleges that a detective sergeant on the Lawrence squad later told him he had been paid by Mr Norris?s father, Clifford. to look after his family.

Stephen?s mother, Doreen, has complained to the IPCC.

Putnam names Detective Sergeant John Davidson, now retired. The programme says Putnam told police that Mr Davidson had taken cash from Clifford Norris to obstruct the investigation. Mr Davidson denies the allegations.

Last night the Metropolitan Police denied that Putnam had given details of a corrupt link between Mr Davidson and Clifford Norris: ?John Davidson was subject to an in-depth corruption investigation, during which there was never any evidence of him being involved in corrupt activity.?