Who was Stephen Lawrence?

Last updated at 13:54
Stephen LawrenceAFP
Who was Stephen Lawrence?

Stephen Lawrence was a black teenager who lived in Eltham in South London.

He was studying for his A-levels and wanted to be an architect when he was older.

He lived with his mum, dad, brother and sister.

Stephen was killed in 1993, when he was 18 years old.

What happened to Stephen?

On 22 April 1993, Stephen was killed by a gang of white men in a racist attack.

He had been waiting for a bus with a friend, when the gang attacked them.

Stephen's friend escaped unhurt, but Stephen died from his injuries.

What happened to his killers?
Lawrence family with MandelaPA
Stephen's family met with Nelson Mandela soon after his death

After Stephen's death, police started to investigate suspects who they believed were responsible for the attack.

But Stephen Lawrence's family felt that not enough was being done to capture Stephen's killers.

Nelson Mandela, the president of South Africa at the time, met with his family and called on the police to do more.

Although some suspects were charged with Stephen's murder, these charges were dropped before a trial could happen.

That's because the people making the decision to take the suspects to trial didn't think that there was enough evidence to prove they murdered Stephen.

Why was the investigation into Stephen's death criticised?
A plaque in Eltham, south-east LondonGetty Images
A plaque was laid at the spot where Stephen Lawrence was attacked

In the months and years that followed Stephen's murder, Stephen's mum and dad kept fighting for justice for their son.

Many people believed the police treated Stephen's case differently because he was black - and that some officers acted in a racist way.

A big inquiry into Stephen's killing and the police investigation was held, and in 1999 it found that the Metropolitan police were 'institutionally racist'.

This means that racist attitudes and beliefs were seen as normal in the Metropolitan police, and affected how they investigated Stephen's murder.

Did Stephen get justice?

In 2012, two of the original suspects in Stephen's killing, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were found guilty of his murder and sent to prison, after new evidence was found.

Although there were other suspects in Stephen's murder, the Metropolitan police have said that its inquiry was "unlikely to progress" without any new evidence.

What was the impact of Stephen's death?
Stephen LawrencePeter Macdiarmid
The Stephen Lawrence Centre opened in South London in 2008, to inspire young people to follow their dreams

For many people, Stephen's murder and the investigation into it by the police showed that there was still a lot of racism in Britain.

Stephen's father, Dr Neville Lawrence, said that his son's murder "opened the country's eyes" to racism.

Stephen's mother, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, set up a charity in his name to give other young people the opportunities that Stephen missed out on.