Doreen Lawrence addresses West Belfast festival
Published: 7th Aug 2012 19:08:52
Doreen Lawrence, the mother of the murdered black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, is to address the West Belfast festival on Tuesday evening.
Her 18-year-old son was killed by white youths in a racist attack in London in 1993. She led a high-profile campaign to bring his killers to justice.
The landmark case made headlines around the world and had major impact on race relations in the UK.
She has been invited to give the annual PJ McGrory humans rights lecture at Feile an Phobail (the people's festival) in the west of the city.
Mrs Lawrence said she will talk about her decision to "take the first step" and challenge the UK justice system.
I've not been able to grieve properly because you're constantly fighting a battle.”
Stephen was attacked and stabbed as he waited at a bus stop in south-east London on 22 April 1993.
In the months and years immediately after the killing, the Metropolitian Police were severely criticised for their handling of the murder investigation.
In 1997, the Labour government ordered a public inquiry into the case and 18 months later, the Macpherson inquiry concluded that London's police force was "institutionally racist" and had made "fundamental errors" during the Stephen Lawrence investigation.
In January this year - 18 years after her son's death - two men were convicted of the racist murder and were both given life sentences.
Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme on Tuesday, Mrs Lawrence said she did not feel hatred for her son's killers but could not consider forgiving them because both men still denied the murder.
"Yes, if they said they were sorry and really asked for forgiveness, then you start thinking about that but the mere fact that that they've never ever said that they're guilty - so until they say they're guilty I don't see how I can forgive them."
She also spoke about the toll the long battle for justice has taken on her physically.
"I think personally my body has suffered. I suppose I didn't realise that until after January (when the trial ended) that I'd lost so much of my hair. Most of my hair is gone - so the stress has affected that part of my body.
"There are times when you have this empty feeling you feel as if you have to fill it - there's a void that you think by eating you'll fill it, but it doesn't.
"The void is there so you have to carry that around with you all the time, not knowing if there is something wrong with you," she said.
Mrs Lawrence said she took the opportunity to spend some time alone after the trial because during 18 year campaign, she felt she had not been able to mourn her son.
"I've not been able to grieve properly because you're constantly fighting a battle. We as a family haven't had a chance to sit back and go through the motions of grieving."
Asked what message she had for parents who lost children during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Mrs Lawrence said she would talk about how her faith had helped her to cope with her son's murder.
"I had to find a way to try and understand, or for me to feel that Stephen's life was not in vain, and over the years I've used my faith in order to get me through or to give me some comfort," she explained.
Doreen Lawrence will address the West Belfast festival on Tuesday in St Mary's University College at 19:30 BST.
At 12:58:39 in EnglandA poem about the killing of PC Keith Blakelock during riots in north London was written by the man accused of his murder, a court has heard.
At 12:58:21 in SportKent have announced a pre-interest and pre-tax profit of £156,778 for the financial year to November 2013.
At 12:56:04 in ScotlandA hamster has been found abandoned inside a plastic play tube in Edinburgh.
At 12:55:09 in BusinessThe sometimes fraught relationship between leaseholders and their freeholders is going to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
At 12:54:04 in HeadlinesIndia's Supreme Court has ordered the continuing detention of businessman Subrata Roy and asked his firm to come up with a plan to repay its investors.
At 12:53:21 in SportCrystal Palace winger Jason Puncheon has been fined £15,000 by the Football Association and warned about his future conduct for Twitter comments he made in relation to former boss Neil Warnock.
At 12:52:43 in HeadlinesA second witness at the murder trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has told a court in the capital Pretoria she was awoken by the sounds of a fight early on 14 February 2013.
At 12:42:01 in PoliticsThere is a risk that "deliberate provocation" could give rise to a dangerous incident in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned.
At 12:41:48 in EnglandA residential treatment programme for addicts which closed in Yeovil is to reopen after the charity running it merged with another organisation.
At 12:40:03 in ScotlandPolice Scotland has exceeded its target to recruit 1,000 additional officers.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Doreen Lawrence addresses West Belfast festival [Online] (Updated 7th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1444996/Doreen-Lawrence-addresses-West-Belfast-festival [Accessed 8th Mar 2014]
News In Other Categories
There is a risk that "deliberate provocation" could give rise to a dangerous incident in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned.
Two hospitals missed opportunities to take action against a consultant breast surgeon who was performing unnecessary or incomplete operations, a review has found.
India's Supreme Court has ordered the continuing detention of businessman Subrata Roy and asked his firm to come up with a plan to repay its investors.
The law needs to be changed to stop ticket touts overcharging fans ahead of the Rugby World Cup, an MP has said.
A man in his 40s has been injured during what is believed to have been an attempted armed robbery in County Down.
Apple has unveiled its new iPhone technology for cars at the Geneva Motor Show.