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Maidstone stonemason abused at Stephen Lawrence memorial

A stonemason was the target of vile abuse from passers-by as he made his annual trip to a memorial he donated as a tribute to murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Gordon Newton, 70, travelled to Eltham on Friday to clean and regild the memorial which replaced a former piece vandalised during a hammer attack.

Mr Newton, who owns The Stone Shop in East Farleigh, makes the annual trip to South London to prepare the plaque for the anniversary of Mr Lawrence’s death after he was stabbed to death in 1993.

Gordon Newton, owner of The Stone Shop in East Farleigh, with the original memorial to Stephen Lawrence which was attacked with a hammer
Gordon Newton, owner of The Stone Shop in East Farleigh, with the original memorial to Stephen Lawrence which was attacked with a hammer

He contacted Doreen and Neville Lawrence following the vandalism and donated a replacement memorial in 1996.

Mr Newton said: “The first one is in my shop because it was hit with a hammer. It almost destroyed it.

“My daughter and myself replaced it with another one and every year we go up to regild it and clean it so it is ready for April 22.

“There was a bit of abuse from local people driving by in their cars. It was young men driving by and they were going too fast for me to get their details.”

Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in Eltham in 1993
Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in Eltham in 1993

Mr Newton’s shop has also been targeted by yobs when eggs were thrown at it.

Despite the vandalism in both London and East Farleigh, there are some people who appreciate the work and dedication of Mr Newton and his daughter.

In 2012 Gary Dobson and David Norris were jailed for a combined 29 years and five months for Mr Larwence’s murder after they were convicted of carrying out the brutal attack at a bus stop.

He said: “We have always kept it looking smart. There have been so many people who come up to us and say ‘thank you’ for doing this.

“We have had abuse here in the shop before as well. I had to call in the police and they sent a racism specialist out to us and we have had our shop egged too.

“It doesn’t bother me. It is sad that 25 years after that young man was murdered by a gang of white thugs that it still goes on.

“I feel sad for the Lawrence family. They have been through enough.”

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