But with so many basic errors in 1993 original inquiry; on surveillance, on the delay of arrests, on the gathering of evidence, on leads which were never followed up, any new investigation faced a mountain to climb.
There have been seven in total, four before the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry and three since then.
Out of 11 suspects who have spanned the years since 1993 – two of the original ones have now finally been convicted.
In the end, for Neville Lawrence it is this last inquiry which counts.
Mr Lawrence is not a vindictive man. He has nothing but praise for the investigation team.
He is satisfied with the simple fact that a trial has taken place. He recalls back in 1996, the devastation felt when the family’s private prosecution failed so badly. The trial of three suspects Gary Dobson, Neil Acourt and Luke Knight collapsed within days.
He recalls how the family, the lawyers and supporters wept for almost an hour in a private room at Old Bailey.
Today’s it’s different. There are no tears -but ask him if the 18 years has been worth it and he pauses. There’s been progress he says and many have benefitted.
“But I would prefer to be having dinner with Stephen tonight, he says.
“We have paid a price – a very heavy price.”
£30 million is also a pretty hefty price for the public purse. On the other hand this was not just about getting justice. It was also about restoring the Met’s reputation.