Stephen Lawrence murder: Dobson and Norris found guilty

 

Doreen Lawrence: "How can I celebrate when my son lies buried?"

Two men have been convicted of the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, 18 years after he was stabbed to death near a south London bus stop.

Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury after a trial based on forensic evidence.

Scientists found a tiny bloodstain on Dobson's jacket that could only have come from Mr Lawrence.

They also found a single hair belonging to the teenager on Norris's jeans. Sentencing will be on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC's Panorama, Stephen's mother Doreen Lawrence said: "I don't forgive the boys who killed Stephen. They don't think they have done anything wrong.

"They took away Stephen's life and there is nothing in their behaviour or anything to show they regret what their actions have done and the pain it has caused us as a family."

In a statement read by his lawyer outside the Old Bailey, Stephen's father, Neville Lawrence, said the convictions were a moment of joy and relief - but he could not rest until all of those who killed his son were brought to justice. He described the investigation and preparation of the case as "faultless".

'Give up others'

He later told Channel 4 News: "I'm praying that these people now realise that they've been found out and say to themselves, 'yes I did this awful deed, but I wasn't alone in that action that night and there are other people also guilty of what I've done' and name them.

Gary Dobson and David Norris Gary Dobson and David Norris had denied murder

"I hope before the sentence is passed, they will talk and give the rest of these people that killed my son up."

Duwayne Brooks, Stephen's best friend who had been with him on the night of the murder, tweeted: "Some justice at last" "Some justice at last".

Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, acknowledged that police believe there were five people involved in the murder, but there are currently no "live" lines of inquiry.

"If there was an opportunity to bring the other people who were involved in that night to justice, we would do so," she said.

The original failed investigation into the murder led to the Metropolitan Police being branded as institutionally racist.

Stephen Lawrence was 18 when he was stabbed to death near a bus stop in Eltham, south east London, in April 1993.

'Prime suspects'

Police identified five men who were later named in a damning public inquiry as the "prime suspects".

Stephen Lawrence Stephen Lawrence's mother Doreen described her son as "bright and beautiful"

By that time, there had already been a catalogue of police errors and two failed prosecutions, one brought by Stephen's parents.

But in a four-year-long cold case review, a fresh team of forensic scientists uncovered microscopic evidence linking two of the five men to the murder - evidence that the police had held all along.

The material - bloodstains, clothing fibres and a single hair belonging to the teenager - were recovered from the clothes of the suspects which had been seized in 1993.

Scientists recovered the material using advanced techniques which were not available to the original case scientists.

Eyewitness

The courtroom was completely silent as the jury delivered their verdicts.

It was only afterwards, as the implications sank in, that people began to react.

Stephen Lawrence's mother remained composed, as she did throughout the trial. She wept a little, but also smiled at her solicitor. She was comforted by Stephen's brother Stuart. Stephen's father, Neville, wiped a tear from his eye as he left court.

Above, in the public gallery, Pauline Dobson, the mother of Gary Dobson, began to sob loudly, before crying out: "He did not kill that man."

As he was led away with his co-defendant David Norris, Dobson turned to the jury and shouted: "You have condemned an innocent man here today."

Dobson, 36, and Norris, 35, denied the murder. They said their clothing had been contaminated as police mixed up evidence over the years. Detectives spent months establishing the movements and handling of the exhibits since 1993 - and the jury were told that contamination was implausible.

Dobson was jailed for five years in 2010 for drugs trafficking. He is among a small number of men to have been tried twice for the same crime after the Court of Appeal quashed his 1996 acquittal for the murder.

Norris was convicted in 2002 of a separate allegation of racially threatening behaviour.

In mitigation, ahead of sentencing on Wednesday, counsel for Dobson said there was no evidence he had been the leader or prime motivator of the group that attacked the teenager.

Norris's counsel repeated his client's pleas of innocence - and revealed his client had been beaten up while on remand at Belmarsh prison, suffering a broken nose and four broken ribs.

Mr Justice Treacy discharged the jury and thanked them for their "dedicated service". He told them the public owed them a debt of gratitude.

Panorama follows Stephen Lawrence's mother, Doreen, as she returns to her son's grave in Jamaica

As the defendants left the dock, Dobson told his family not to worry, and Norris waved to the gallery. Members of both men's families shouted back.

'Unique case'

18 YEARS ON: THE EVIDENCE

Magnified blood spot. Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA
  • Tiny bloodstain on Dobson's jacket (pictured)
  • Scientists found DNA and matched it to Stephen
  • Clothing fibres matched victim's clothes
  • Single 2mm hair found on Norris's jeans matched to teenager

The Metropolitan Police's Acting Deputy Commissioner, who ordered the 2006 cold case review that led to the convictions, said the case had been extremely important for the Lawrence family, the force itself and society at large.

Cressida Dick added: "It's a matter of huge regret to the Met that it has taken 18 years to get to this point.

"It has been a unique case in policing. Firstly the horrible, horrible nature of the attack on the night, the time in which it has taken to bring anybody to justice, and the tireless campaigning of the Lawrences.

"There is no comparable case. All homicide cases are terrible, but for us it is a very important case.

"Most importantly, we wanted to be able to bring people to justice for the killing and try to give Doreen and Neville Lawrence and their family some sense of justice."

 

More on This Story

Lawrence Verdict

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  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 204.

    I dont think this was a great day for British justice, the abandonment of double jeapordy rules will lead to political trials rather than jiustice with those deemed worthy brought again and again to court till the 'right' verdict is reached

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 203.

    The failure of the original police investigation at the time of Stephen's murder, was more about incompetence than "institutional racism".
    It was turned in to a race issue because it suited the political agenda at the time, which still prevails today.

  • rate this
    +50

    Comment number 199.

    This is about Stephen who lost his precious life at a very young age.
    No matter where we are from in this world or what our origin all parents should teach their children to love not hate, imagine how the family of the men now convicted would feel if they had lost their children to such a violent and lonely end! I admire the strength of Stephens family and his friends...

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 194.

    I'm not sure of the veracity of this verdict, though I THINK it may be correct. However, given the method of storage of the clothing, I fear an appeal, and an acquittal are on the cards. So, more anguish for his friends/family & more expense for the taxpayer.
    I just hope the evidence gatherers & storers have learnt from this whole sorry affair & we have fewer questionnable verdicts a a result.

  • rate this
    +37

    Comment number 138.

    My heart goes out to the family. They should never have had to wait this long, nor fight this hard for justice for their dead son. There is no victory cry because ultimately they have lost their child in the most terrible of ways..

 

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