An ex-Met commander would have faced a misconduct charge over his conduct throughout the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, had he not retired.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) investigation discovered that Richard Walton, who at the time of the inquiry was an acting detective inspector, met with an undercover officer in 1998 before attaining information about the murdered teenager’s family.
At the time Mr. Walton was working on Scotland Yard’s Lawrence review team and was liable for making submissions to the Macpherson inquiry, which explored the failures in how the 18-year-old’s murder was investigated.
Stephen was savagely killed by a group of racists, who stabbed him as he waited for a bus in Eltham, south east London, on 22 April 1993. Police investigations in to his death were marred by incompetence and allegations of racism as it took 19 years to bring any of his murders to justice.
The watchdog interrogated Mr. Walton’s meeting with the undercover officer from the MPS Special Demonstration Squad, known as N81, and found that he “would have had a case to answer for misconduct” if he was still in the force. However the IPCC said that Mr. Walton would not have faced action over accusations that he had given inconsistent accounts to an inquiry.
In 2014 Mr. Walton was temporarily suspended from his job at the top of the police counter-terrorism command, after publication of the damning report by Mr. Ellison. In January lawyers of Mr. Lawrence’s father tried but failed to prevent Mr. Walton from retiring before he could answer the misconduct accusations.
IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green has stated “During the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, the honesty and integrity of the Metropolitan Police was rightly under intense public scrutiny. The IPCC found that Richard Walton had a case to answer for discreditable conduct in that his actions could have brought the force into disrepute”.
TNT News Billy Rooney