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I forgive Stephen’s killers, says father, but I will never heal

A life
sentence of
grief: Neville
said decision
is ‘hardest I
have made

THE father of teenager Stephen Lawrence has made the humbling decision to forgive his son’s murderers nearly 25 years after the racist killling.

Neville Lawrence, 76, said the decision was the ‘hardest I will ever make’ and that he struggles to put into words the grief caused by his son’s death.

Uproar: Five suspects leave 1998 inquiry into the murder of Stephen (below) David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted in 2012 PICTURES: PA

Stephen was murdered by a gang of racists in Eltham, south-east London, on April 22, 1993, at the age of 18.

His father said: ‘The fact that I had to lose my first child has been devastating. I can’t begin to explain the pain and the anguish my family and I have suffered over the past 25 years.’

He said he plans to spend the anniversary of his son’s death in church.

Two of the group of up to six thugs who attacked the teenager and his friend Duwayne Brooks because they were black have been convicted of murder. David Norris and Gary Dobson are both serving life sentences, while three others who have been consistently accused of the killing but never convicted are Jamie Acourt, 41, his brother Neil Acourt, 42, who uses his mother’s maiden name Stuart, and Luke Knight, 41.

The initial investigation into Stephen’s death was hampered by incompetence, racism and alleged corruption. A key moment for Mr Lawrence and his ex-wife Doreen, who is now Baroness Lawrence, was meeting Nelson Mandela two weeks after Stephen died.

Mr Lawrence said: ‘I was so inspired by his persona and the way he talked to people. Meeting him gave me the courage to do some of the things I have done over the years. I also decided that I would go into schools and universities and talk to the younger generation.’

The father-of-three said it was ‘even more urgent’ to talk to young people now, with a surge in knife crime. He said he wanted to ‘explain to them the pain and suffering they inflict’.

‘It is a life sentence,’ he said. ‘I’ve been serving a life sentence and I will go on serving that until the day I die.’