The sixth suspect in the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence said he had killed before as he tried to stab a black security guard.
The unprovoked attack
Stephen Lawrence, 18, an aspiring architect, was murdered on his way home in an unprovoked attack by a gang of racists in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993, but only two of his killers have faced justice – Gary Dobson and David Norris were jailed for life in 2012.
The Met Police in June named Matthew White, who died aged 50 in 2021, as the sixth suspect in the case.
Said ‘I’ve done it before’
The BBC now reports a former victim of White’s said he told him in a 2015 attack there had been no consequences for killing ‘Stephen’ and said: ‘I will kill you, I’ve done it before, nothing will happen.’
Bethel Ikpeze told the broadcaster he was working as a security officer in Lidl in Eltham, south-east London, when he spotted White trying to shoplift.
The Met Police have said the take all allegations of racial abuse seriously and apologised ‘if this was not investigated as it should have been’.
Mr Ikpeze said White, a heroin user, responded with swearing and a stream of racist slurs when he was challenged, before attempting to stab him in the head and neck with a bloody needle.
He said he managed to restrain White until police arrived as White continued to abuse him with extreme racist language.
He told the broadcaster: ‘I asked him, “Do you want to kill me? Do you want to stab me?” He said, “Yes, I will kill you”.’
According to Mr Ikpeze, White made multiple references to having killed before, saying ‘I’ve done it before’ and ‘we have done it before’, along with the name ‘Stephen’.
The security guard added that White said: ‘They’ve done it in the bus stop there to a fellow like me [Mr Ikpeze] in the past.’
Mr Ikpeze said he informed police of the exchange with White and uniformed officers said they would ‘run a check’ – but added he was never spoken to by any of the detectives who were still investigating Stephen’s death.
White was jailed for four months but did not face charges for attempting to harm the guard or for racially abusing him.
While in prison he is alleged to have admitted to a fellow prisoner that he was involved in Stephen Lawrence’s murder.