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Parents defend accused in Lawrence case.

The parents of the men named as prime suspects in the race murder of Stephen Lawrence declared their sons were innocent yesterday - and hit out at what they called their "crucifixion by media".

Speaking out in a letter issued through their solicitor, the relatives said allegations against their sons were "unfounded".

It said: "We the parents of these innocent young men and children at the time are sick of them being victimised for a political cause and crucified and tried by the media.

"Most people have prejudged this case because of the adverse publicity, we would ask that they look at this case with an open mind."

The letter to the London News Network TV company was prompted by an investigation into the background of the five due to be screened on Friday.

The programme will also include new footage from a police surveillance video which hoped to snare the five confessing to the crime.

The parents of Gary Dobson and Luke Knight and the mothers of Jamie Acourt, Neil Acourt and David Norris said: "The (surveillance) video was a product of what happened to our sons, they are hitting back after 18 months of persecution, they are hitting back at society for condemning them.

"We would not justify your unfounded allegations by answering them all individually, but would like to stress that our sons are completely INNOCENT of any violent offence, including the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

"This case has turned into a gravy train with everyone reaping rewards at the expense of our sons.

"As you are putting so many views forward, we hope our letter can be brought to the public's attention."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 3, 1999
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