Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have attended a touching service to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in London today.
The 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was fatally stabbed by a gang of racists in south-east London on 22 April 1993. Two of the six men who attacked the teenager have been convicted of murder.
David Norris and Gary Dobson are both serving life sentences, while three other men who have been accused of the killing but have never been convicted are Jamie Acourt, 41, from Bexley, his brother Neil Acourt, 42, who now uses his mother’s maiden name Stuart, and Luke Knight, 41, both from Eltham.
Jamie Acourt is on the run in Spain while Neil Acourt is now serving a six-year prison sentence for a £4 million drugs ring. Stephen’s parents have battled for years to bring his killers to justice.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met with Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence, who is now a peer sitting the Lords, and Stephen’s brother Stuart before the service began. A message of support on behalf of the Prince of Wales was read. The Prince of Wales gave the annual Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture in 2000.
As guests began to arrive for the afternoon service, Doreen Lawrence and her son Stuart stood in the doorway of the church to greet those attending.
Stephen’s father Neville Lawrence announced last week that he had made the decision to forgive his son’s killers. He 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 me and my family have suffered over the past 25 years.”
Following the service, Theresa May announced that April 22 would now be known as Stephen Lawrence Day. The annual commemoration of the life and legacy of the teenager would give the country a chance to reflect on the “positive change he has inspired”, the Prime Minister said.