Group lists 96 'racist killings' since Lawrence
- 6 January 2012
- From the section UK
At least 96 people have been killed in attacks with a racial element since the murder of Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago, a group has claimed.
The Institute of Race Relations says there has been an average of five killings a year since 1993.
The 96 cases it lists were not all categorised as racist by the courts.
The Ministry of Justice said that even though the number of racist incidents had fallen over the last five years, it was determined to do more.
IRR researcher Harmit Athwal said: "The convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris [for killing Stephen Lawrence] will be bitter-sweet vindication for the family of Stephen Lawrence who have fought an 18-year campaign for justice.
"And yet, despite all their efforts, the hideous fact is that since Stephen Lawrence's death, at least 96 people have lost their lives to racial violence."
The list was published as the parents of an Indian student, Anuj Bidve, fatally shot on Boxing Day, visited the scene of the crime in Salford, Greater Manchester.
A man has been charged with Mr Bidve's murder but it is unclear if racism played a part in the incident.
'Politicians in denial'
Ms Athwal said: "Our research shows that the main parties are in denial about the extent and severity of racial violence, and interested in right-wing extremism only when it challenges them electorally.
"And yet it is the policies and pronouncements of mainstream politicians, on a range of issues from terrorism and foreign wars to cohesion, criminality and immigration, which create the insidious popular racism in which such violence foments."
The IRR listed the 96 victims on its website and said few of the victims had made the news.
It said nine of the deaths had occurred in Scotland, six in Wales, two in Northern Ireland and the other 79 in England.
Four of the victims were white British citizens but the vast majority were from Black or Minority Ethnic (BME) communities or migrant workers.
One of the names on the list is Christopher Alaneme, a black teenager killed by a gang of white men in Sheerness, Kent in 2006.
Passing sentence on his killers, Judge Mr Justice Godring said he did not believe Mr Alaneme was the victim of a race attack
The trial had heard that a racial epithet was hurled at Mr Alaneme.
Ms Athwal said: "Sometimes the judge or the Crown Prosecution Service discount racism but in that case the family definitely believed it was a racist attack."
The most recent victims on the list were Mr Bidve and Mahesh Wickramasingha, a shop worker who was stabbed to death in Huyton, Liverpool, in November.
Sam Harrison, 19, has been accused of murdering Mr Wickramasingha, who was originally from Sri Lanka.
One of the cases not listed was Christopher Yates, a white man killed in 2004 by three British-born Pakistani men during a "drink-fuelled rampage".
Ms Athwal said: "I remember that case and we had a lot of discussion about it in the office. Although racist words were used towards him the gang were using fairly indiscriminate violence against a number of people that night."
She said the British National Party had compiled their own list of racist murders where the victims were white British citizens.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said they had not used the word racism in connection with the Anuj Bidve case but he added: "We are treating it as a hate crime because of the perception in the community."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "Although the number of racist incidents has fallen over the last five years, we're determined to do more.
"That's why we're developing a new action plan to tackle hate crime, and for the first time police forces are recording incidents centrally to better understand the situation.
"Judges are required to give longer sentences for racially motivated crimes and new offences have been introduced to tackle racially aggravated assault, public order and criminal damage - all of which carry higher maximum sentences than similar offences with no racial element."