REVIEW: Donal McIntyre’s Murder Files revisits the infamous murder case of Stephen Lawrence
The second episode of Donal McIntyre’s Murder Files revisits the infamous 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence and the new investigation that finally brought his killers to justice.
In April 1993 in South East London, black youngster Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in a racially-motivated attack as he waited at a bus stop. The white gang members that committed the atrocity were acquitted in 1996 due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
Nobody would be convicted for eighteen years until the cold case was resurrected by Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll.
Using Driscoll’s recollections, McIntyre uncovers a complex system of institutional racism that meant Lawrence’s case was never taken seriously by the Met. As Driscoll himself says, the initial investigation reeks of either police incompetence or corruption.
Driscoll’s opinions on how police work should be done are fascinating to hear, whether one agrees or not. The way he works, he admits, is not always universally appreciated by other members of the police force. Picking his brain makes for interesting television.
His first tip is to revisit the scene of the murder – exactly how it was on the day of the murder. To glean maximum context, he believes in retracing the steps and what he would have seen at the time the crime was committing – however difficult that may be with a cold case. Driscoll decides to re-start the investigation into the case from the very beginning, discounting previously accepted pieces of evidence.
The crucial breakthrough finally arrives in the form of forensic evidence found on the jacket of a suspect, using new technology. Driscoll insisted the items be tested by a company external to the Met to prevent a conflict of interest – a multi-million-pound gamble.
The murder of Lawrence, and the repercussions of the police failure to convict a killer, is a controversial subject. There could be an entire series examining on the incorrect procedures followed by the original investigators, and the allegations of police corruption. Donal McIntyre’s Murder Files barely scratches the surface of the case, but what it does is still an incredibly impactful introduction. And the insight into the minds like Driscoll is always worth a watch.