Line of Duty has been inspired by some of Britain’s biggest – and most tragic – criminal cases.

And in the latest episode, fans spotted a nod to two famous victims of real racially-motivated attacks – Stephen Lawrence and Christopher Alder.

Writers created a character using their names – murder victim Lawrence Christopher – whose story had similarities to both real-life cases. He was attacked by a group of white youths at a train station before the police were called.

However, officers assumed the attack was linked to gang activity and took the dazed young architect, a profession Stephen was training for, into police custody.

Sadly, he died in his jail cell from an untreated skull fracture while he was being mocked by cops who jeered at him with monkey noises, in an uncanny similarity to Christopher.

Steve Arnott and Ted Hastings on the trail of bent coppers
Steve Arnott and Ted Hastings on the trail of bent coppers

However when it comes to poaching from reality, creator Jed Mercurio is certainly not a first-time offender....

Stephen Lawrence

Four former police officers involved in the early stages of the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation may face criminal charges
Four former police officers involved in the early stages of the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation may face criminal charges

Stephen was killed in an unprovoked attack as he waited for a bus in 1993.

The budding 18-year-old architect was stabbed several times before he bled to death in Eltham, South East London, but despite tip offs, no one was charged.

Almost four years later, an inquest ruled the teenager had died in a racist attack by five white youths. In July 1997, the Macpherson Report found the probe into his death faced “institutional racism and a failure of leadership”.

In 2012, David Norris and Gary Dobson were found guilty of Stephen’s murder and jailed for life. Two others have been jailed for drug dealing while one has remained free.

Daniel Morgan

Also in episode two, Steve and Chloe visit Gail’s former producer who tells them she is planning a podcast, inspired by a real one based on the murder of a private investigator.

Daniel Morgan was attacked with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub, Sydenham, South East London, in 1987. The murder weapon was still embedded in his skull when his body was discovered.

The Untold podcast suggests he was close to exposing police corruption at the time. The case remains unsolved.

Presented by author Peter Jukes and Alistair Morgan – Daniel’s older brother, it aims to shed new light on the case and to give new momentum to the family’s quest for justice.

But, with no witnesses and numerous failed investigations – at a cost of some £30million – their chances seem slim.

Christopher Alder

Christopher Alder in his Parachute Regiment uniform
Christopher Alder in his Parachute Regiment uniform

Christopher was a Falklands war hero who died in police custody aged 37 in 1998.

He was punched in a pub scuffle and cracked his head on the kerb.

Humberside Police took him to hospital before arresting him. Officers were captured on footage mocking him and making monkey noises as he lay dying.

Five officers were tried for manslaughter and misconduct but were acquitted.

In 2004, four officers involved with the case were granted early retirement due to stress and were given payouts of more than £44,000 as well as police pensions, similar to the officers in Sunday’s episode.

Jimmy Savile

The disgraced TV star was first referenced in series three in a storyline about child sex abuse.

But the case was revisited again this series as AC-12 reviewed the work of murdered journalist Gail Vella who had reported on the conviction of Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank – a character who had fictional links to Savile.

In the report, Vella said: “We now realise what
Savile was getting out of those relationships with senior police officers, but what remains unknown, and uninvestigated, is what those officers were getting out of their relationship with Savile.”

David Norris

Danny Hunter, one of Lawrence Christopher’s suspected killers, is discovered to be the son of Organised Crime Group leader Tommy Hunter in Line of Duty.

It has haunting echos of one of Stephen Lawrence’s killers, David Norris, whose dad Clifford was said to be a key figure in London’s underworld.

Clifford Norris has always denied being involved with any corrupt coppers.

However he was convicted of smuggling cannabis worth £1.3million in 1995 and sentenced to nine-and-a-half years
in prison.

Daphne Caruana Galiela

Investigative journalist Caruana Galizia was killed after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing her in Bidnija, Malta, on October 16, 2017
Investigative journalist Caruana Galizia was killed after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing her in Bidnija, Malta, on October 16, 2017

The central case of series six – the fictional murder of journalist Gail Vella – is based on a real life crime.

Writer Jed Mercurio confirmed Vella was based on the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was assassinated in 2017 after breaking stories about government corruption, allegations of money laundering and organised crime in the country.

She refused to back down despite threats and in 2017 she was killed after a bomb was detonated in her car near her house. Three men were accused of the murder and one, Vincent Muscat, pleaded guilty and was jailed for 15 years.

Sir Cliff Richard

In episode two of this series, there was reference made to BBC filming a police raid of an elderly pop star’s home.

Fans immediately linked it to the case of Sir Cliff Richard as old footage of one of Gail Vella’s reports was played, saying: “Instead of pursuing the guilty police officers, your constabulary investigated celebrities and VIPs all without charge.

Officers arguably colluded with the BBC in enabling a news helicopter to film the search of an elderly pop star’s home, again, without charge.”

Police raided Sir Cliff’s Berkshire home in 2014, after false sexual assault claims. He was never arrested and the case was dropped two years later. The BBC aired helicopter footage of the raid. Sir Cliff sued for invasion of privacy, winning £210,000 damages and £2million costs.

Jill Dando

Jill Dando in 1996
Jill Dando in 1996

Viewers have drawn parallels between the fictional murder of journalist Gail Vella and the murder of Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando in 1999.

Both Vella and Jill Dando were killed outside their homes with a single gunshot wound to the head, believed to have been inflicted by a lone gunman.

Police followed a theory that the culprit was an obsessed fan. It led them to look at Barry George, who lived near her West London home. He was convicted in 2001 and jailed but acquitted seven years later.

A suspect in the Vella case, Terry Boyle, had her articles on the wall in his flat, just as George had cuttings about Jill.

Do you have a story to sell? Get in touch with us at [email protected] or call us direct 0207 29 33033.