Stephen Lawrence was a black British teenager from Plumstead in southeast London who was murdered in a racially motivated attack whilst waiting for a bus back from his uncle’s house in Well Hall, Eltham on the evening of the 22nd, April 1993. His death became a ‘cause célébre’ and sparked cultural changes of attitudes on racism and the police, as well as the law and police practice in Britain. It also resulted in the partial revocation of the rule against double jeopardy (which prevented people accused of crimes from being tried again on the same or similar charges), as well as the imprisonment of two men who were finally convicted of Lawrence’s murder in 2012.

Lawrence had spent the day of the 22nd, April 1993 at Blackheath Bluecoat School. After school, he travelled by bus to an uncle’s house in Grove Park, where he was joined by Duwayne Brooks. The pair spent the evening playing videogames. Whilst waiting for their bus home, Brooks noticed a group of five or six white youths crossing the street and moving towards them. When Brooks called out to ask whether Lawrence saw the bus coming, he claimed that he then heard one of Lawrence’s assailants saying "What, what n****r?". The men proceeded to force Lawrence to the ground and stab him on both sides of the front of his body, in the right collar bone, and left shoulder, severing arteries and penetrating a lung. Lawrence, who had lost all feeling in his right arm and was heavily losing blood was able to run away, but collapsed after running around 130 yards, bleeding to death before he could receive medical attention. 

After an initial investigation, five suspects were arrested but all were acquitted due to "insufficient evidence". His parents and others campaigned for more than five years until the Home Secretary announced an inquiry into the police investigation, and a further two years for a report to be published.  The publication of the resulting MacPherson Report in 1999 concluded that the investigation had been mishandled and there had been institutional racism in the police force at the time which affected the case. It also recommended that the double jeopardy rule should be repealed in murder cases to allow a retrial upon the discovery of new evidence. This report has been called "one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain", with Jack Straw saying that the ordering of this inquiry was the most important decision he made during his tenure as Home Secretary from 1997-2001. 

In May of 2011, it was announced two of the original suspects, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were to stand trial for the murder in light of new evidence which had become available as a result of developments in forensic science. On the 3rd of January 2012, Dobson and Norris were found guilty of Lawrence’s murder, with Dobson being given a minimum sentence of 15 years and 2 months, and Norris receiving 14 years and 3 months for what the judge described as a "terrible and evil crime".

However, the story doesn’t end there. His campaigning mother, Doreen Lawrence, has since been made a Baroness and works on race and diversity issues in the House of Lords. In 1995, a memorial plaque was set into the pavement where Lawrence was killed; a prize for architecture and research centre at De Montfort University bear his name; and in February 2008, the Stephen Lawrence Centre opened its doors in southeast London. The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust was also established in light of this atrocity. It is committed to the advancement of social justice and provides educational and employability workshops and mentoring schemes, as well as architectural and landscape bursaries. 

On April 23rd, 2018 at a memorial service marking the 25th anniversary of Lawrence’s death, then PM Theresa May announced that "Stephen Lawrence Day" would be an annual national commemoration of his death and would be held on the 22nd of April from 2019. Doreen Lawrence made a statement that this day would be "an opportunity for young people to use their voices and should be embedded in our education and wider system regardless of the government of the day". She also commented that Stephen was someone who "didn’t distinguish between black or white", but "saw people as people", which is an idea I hope will be his lasting legacy.