Doreen Delceita Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE, was born Doreen Graham on the 24 October 1952 in Jamaica. Living in London and working in a bank, In 1972, she married Neville Lawrence; their son Stephen was born in 1974. Doreen and her now ex-husband Neville came to prominence after the racist murder of their son Stephen 1993. Doreen and Neville campaigned tirelessly to bring justice to her son’s killers.
Doreen Lawrence lobbied for reforms to the Metropolitan police service, claiming that her family and others involved in similar cases were treated inappropriately during the investigation into her son’s murder.
Stephen Lawrence Murdered
Stephen Lawrence’s murder could have easily just been another depressing statistic of young black men murdered without real justice, in Britains capital. However, Neville and Doreen Lawrence were seeking answers and were not prepared to let their sons’s murder be brushed under the carpet. Openly critical of the Police investigation into their son’s murder and maintaining that the Metropolitan Police investigation was not being conducted in a professional manner they cited racism from officers and incompetence with regard to following up leads and gathering evidence.
After years of campaigning, The Lawrence’s managed to appeal to the Home Secretary, then, Jack Straw (Labour). in 1999, a wide-ranging judicial inquiry was set up by Straw.
The MacPherson Enquiry
Sir William MacPherson was appointed to chair the inquiry, which was supposed to investigate the conditions of Stephen’s murder. The public inquiry was big news and became the topic of intense media interest. The findings of the Macpherson enquiry became global news when it concluded the Metropolitan Police was “Institutionally Racist” and that this was clearly one of the main causes of their failure in capturing and successfully prosecuting Stephens Killers.
In the wake of the inquiry, Doreen Lawrence continued to campaign for justice for her son along with for other victims of race crime. Lawrence continued to petition for; and secured additional reforms to the police service. In 2003 she was appointed OBE for services to community relations.
She founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to encourage a favorable community heritage within her son’s name. Lawrence was been chosen to sit on panels within the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Service, and she is an associate of both the board and also the council of Liberty, the human rights organisation, in addition to being a patron of hate crime charity; Stop Hate UK.
Accolades and Honours
Doreen Lawrence has become a symbol of the struggle for justice. She has been in popular demand to represent the country publicly.
In July 2012, Lawrence took part in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, holding the Olympic flag with Shami Chakrabarti, Ban Ki Moon and others on 27.
In October 2012, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Pride of Britain Awards.
In July 2013 it was declared that Doreen Lawrence was to be made a life peer in acknowledgement of her charity work. She was created Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, of Clarendon in the Commonwealth Realm of Jamaica, on 6 September 2013.
Lawrence Family Spied upon by Police
In July 2012, the Home Secretary asked Mark Ellison QC to lead an independent review into whether there was:
- Evidence of corruption in the original Metropolitain Police investigation during the Lawrence investigation
- Evidence withheld from the Macpherson Inquiry
- Inappropriate undercover activity directed at the Lawrence family
In 2014 the report was published as the Ellison Review and concluded that Senior Officers knew about Police spying on the Lawrence Family. Read the Home Secretary – Theresa May’s response to the Ellison Review.