A former police officer, Neil Putnam, alleged in a BBC programme on July 26 2006 that the Metropolitan police covered up testimony that the killers of Stephen Lawrence were shielded by a corrupt detective, John Davidson. Mr Putnam claimed that Mr Davidson had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, a notorious gangster and the father of David Norris, one of those named by locals as responsible for the black teenager’s murder in April 1993 at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London. Scotland Yard denies covering up crucial information, saying that after his arrest Mr Putnam gave anti-corruption officers information about Mr Davidson being corrupt but did not provide a link with Mr Norris. Mr Davidson, who now runs a bar in Spain, denies any wrongdoing and was never prosecuted for any alleged offence. Mr Putnam himself was convicted of corruption after confessing to offences.
The Guardian spoke to Mr Putnam in February 2001 when he was in a witness protection programme. Here we present audio extracts from the interview.
Clip 1: On alleged corruption in the investigation
“It was just us two on duty and he said ‘Old man Norris’, I assumed old man Norris was Clifford, that ‘he had been putting some work our way’. By that I assumed he was giving information. It was not until later on that I started to realise that there was corruption going on, the whole investigation was blighted by it.” Hear clip 1 (54s)
Clip 2: On alleged links bewteen Clifford Norris and John Davidson
“Clifford Norris was never going to admit to anything; the minute he does that, the boys are in the dock … and he’d be in the dock for perverting the course of justice, so he’s covered that way, everything is deniable. John is not a stupid man, quite the reverse.” Hear clip 2 (1min)
Clip 3: On the police decision not to to pursue corruption matters
“I remember the words. It would be too much of an embarrassment for the Metropolitan Police, and it was likely if it came out it could destroy the Metropolitan Police, those were the exact words, destroy the Metropolitan Police.” Hear clip 3 (30s)