Stephen Lawrence murder trial

Posted on: Wednesday, January 04, 2012

LATEST: January 4: Gary Dobson and David Norris are both jailed for life for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Dobson will serve at least 15 years two months before being considered for parole, Norris will serve at least 14 years three months.

Judge condemns 'racist, evil' crime as he sentences Gary Dobson and David Norris - Telegraph - Why killers got short sentences

Gary Dobson and David Norris jailed for 'terrible and evil crime' - Mail - Judge tells police to hunt down three or four others still at large

Difficult trial was in safe hands - Guardian - Timeline of events

Police say new information has come in - BBC

People pay their respects at Stephen Lawrence memorial -  Demotix


Day One (November 15): The trial of two men for the murder of Stephen Lawrence started at the Old Bailey with the prosecution opening speech.

Stephen Lawrence murder was racially motivated - Guardian, which also has an updating list of tweets from the court.

Black teenager was swallowed up by white gang - Mirror

Stephen Lawrence was swallowed up by a gang of white youths - Mail Online

Old Bailey told new scientific evidence will show how pair murdered Stephen Lawrence - News Shopper

Stephen Lawrence: bomber jacket and cardigan at heart of evidence - Daily Telegraph

Stephen Lawrence swallowed up by gang - BBC

White gang swallowed up Stephen Lawrence - Times (subscription only), who also have a live tweet display.

From Courtnewsuk:

Teenage murder victim Stephen Lawrence was 'swallowed up' by a gang of white youths who shouted racist abuse at him, the Old Bailey heard today (Tues).

Stephen, 18, was forced to the ground and stabbed twice in the upper torso in Eltham, southeast London, on 22 April, 1993.

He had been waiting for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks, also 18, when they were approached by a group of five white males who were heard to shout 'what, what nigger'.

For a full court report subscribe to

Day Two (November 16):

Witness Royston Westbrook has told how he saw Stephen Lawrence being attacked by a gang of white youths.

Stephen Lawrence stabbed to death in silent attack - Daily Telegraph

Stephen Lawrence chatted about football before stabbing - Reuters

They just collided: Eyewitness tells of attack - Mail Online

From courtnewsuk (subscribers only):

A hospital worker told today (Weds) how a gang of white youths took just 10 seconds to kill student Stephen Lawrence.

Royston Westbrook had been at the same bus stop as Stephen, 18, and his friend Duwayne Brooks and saw the racist attackers surround the teenager.

'It was so quick, it really was quick,' he told the Old Bailey.

'It was about 10 seconds. My impression going away from that was they managed to punch him and that was it.'

Day Three (November 17):

From (full story subscription only):

The best friend of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence broke down in tears today (Thurs) as he described the killing.

Duwayne Brooks was waiting for a bus with Stephen, 18, when a gang of white youths 'converged' on his friend 18 years ago, the Old Bailey was told.

Mr Brooks, who was also 18 at the time of the killing, said the attackers shouted 'what, what, n*gger', before Stephen was dragged to the floor and punched and kicked, jurors heard.

One gang member then returned to strike the victim around the head with a metal pole.

The best friend of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has told the Old Bailey of the attack.

Best friend gives tearful evidence of teen's final moments - Mirror

Friend was in fear - BBC

Best friend says teenager was stabbed with a foot-long knife - Telegraph

Blood was streaming out around his neck - Mail Online

Stephen Lawrence trial judge orders jury not to read Spectator magazine - Guardian

Day Four (November 21): One of the men accused of the murder of Stephen Lawrence 'seemed nervous' when questioned by police after the attack and claimed he was at home studying.

Police also released pictures of clothing worn by Stephen and his alleged attackers, and surveillance photographs of the two suspects.

'I was at home revising': What Stephen Lawrence murder suspect told police - Mail Online

Live Twitter updates from Sky News on gathering of forensic evidence

Stephen Lawrence forensic probe system questioned - BBC

Surveillance pictures taken of suspects days after the murder - Telegraph

Stephen Lawrence trial: Murdered in these clothes - The Sun

Day Five (November 22): More evidence from police involved in searching the homes of the suspects.

Evidence against Lawrence slaying pair 'contaminated' by police - Bexley Times

Officer visited Stephen Lawrence and Gary Dobson homes - BBC

Officers may have contaminated Stephen Lawrence evidence - Telegraph

Police 'tainted clothes of accused duo' - Metro

Day Six (November 23): Jurors are told that police searched the homes of five suspects after the murder of Stephen Lawrence: Gary Dobson, David Norris, brothers Jamie and Neil Acourt and a fifth unnamed person. Search evidence continued.

Lawrence forensic expert admits 'I made crucial mistakes' - Independent

Clothing seized from suspects kept in same cell as victim's - This is Local London

Five suspects were held over Lawrence murder - Mail Online

Stephen Lawrence evidence was mislabelled, trial told - Guardian

Day Seven (November 24): Further forensic evidence continues from the scientist in charge of the original murder investigation.

Blood found on suspect's jacket too small to find - Telegraph

Stephen Lawrence scientist reluctant to fibre search - BBC

Evidence in Lawrence murder case missed because forensic scientists didn't look for it - This is local London

Lawrence: The clues they didn't find for 14 years - Daily Mail

Day Eight (November 25): Further forensic evidence about the difference between the investigations in 1995 and 2007. Michael Mansfield QC also denied handling the exhibits during the private prosecution in 1995.

Stephen Lawrence trial told of forensic problems - BBC

Lawrence jury told of single shirt fibre clue - Evening Standard

Day Nine (November 28):  More forensics - sealed exhibits from the victim and the suspects were kept in the same outer bag.

Stephen Lawrence trial: Questions over evidence bags - BBC

Stephen Lawrence's jacket was kept in same bag as suspect's clothes - Telegraph

Key Lawrence evidence kept in same bag - Independent

Day Ten (November 29): A detective on the Stephen Lawrence murder enquiry deliberately sabotaged records after being told he was to be kicked off the case.

Database deliberately altered - BBC

Stephen Lawrence records were sabotaged by cop - Sun

Minimal chance of contamination for Lawrence evidence - News Shopper

Day Eleven (November 30): Evidence about the blood found on one of the suspects in the Stephen Lawrence murder.

Blood found in evidence bag was a one in a billion match to Stephen - Evening Standard

Stain on jacket of accused had been made when blood was fresh - Telegraph

Stephen Lawrence's blood stained accused's collar - Guardian

Day Twelve (December 1): More bood evidence as forensic scientist Edward Jarman is cross-examined. No blood was found on the clothing of two brothers previously suspected of the murder.

Forensic scientist challenged - BBC

Lawrence blood trace 'microscopic' - Press Association

Blood could not have got on jacket through contamination - Daily Mirror

Day 13 (December 5): Forensic scientist Roy Green has claimed the combination of blood and fibre evidence found on a suspect's clothing is 'extremely persuasive'.

Jacket wearer linked to murder - BBC

Gary Dobson's jacket was covered with fibres from Stephen Lawrence's clothes - Telegraph

Fibres strongly link suspects to Stephen Lawrence's killing - Mail Online

Day 14 (December 6): Stephen Lawrence's hair was found on the clothing of suspect David Norris.

Accused may have visited attacker - Press Association

Lawrence's hair among traces found on murder accused - BBC

Day 15 (December 7): DNA from hair found on jeans of suspect David Norris was a 1 in 1000 match to the victim, the court heard.

 Trial told of '1 in 1000' hair link - BBC

Day 16 (December 8): Evidence from forensic scientist Rosalyn Hammond about the handling of exhibits in the case during the investigation.

Evidence from Stephen Lawrence jacket not transferred - BBC

Contamination claims 'implausible' - Telegraph

Contamination 'practically impossible' - Scottish Daily Record

Day 17 (December 9): Further evidence from forensic scientist.

Defence claims contamination risks - BBC

Stephen Lawrence items not tampered with - Independent

Day 18 (December 12): Police interviews of suspect Gary Dobson read in court. David Norris did not answer questions.

Gary Dobson told police: 'I ain't no racist' - Evening Standard

Day 19 (December 13): Video and audio surveillance of both suspects was played in court in support of the prosecution allegation of a racist motivation for the attack. The prosecution then closed the case and Gary

Dobson began giving evidence in his own defence.

Stephen Lawrence accused caught discussing torturing black people - Guardian

Stephen Lawrence suspect filmed saying he wanted to kill black people - Telegraph

Dobson disgusted by racist speech - BBC

Race threats just banter, says accused - Standard

Day 20 (December 14): Gary Dobson is cross-examiend by the prosecution. His mother and father also gave evidence about him being at home on the night of the murder.

Gary Dobson's mother says he was at home all night - Guardian

He was at home making toast: Mother of Gary Dobson offers alibi - Mail Online

Stephen Lawrence murdered for stepping on to thugs' manor - Standard

Day 21 (December 15): Suspect David Norris gives evidence. The evidence concludes.

David Norris claims no memory of whereabouts - Guardian

David Norris says he is innocent - BBC

Mother accused of giving false alibi - Independent

Day 22 (December 20): The prosecutor gives his closing speech to the jury.

Three steps to Lawrence verdict - Evening Standard

Witnesses back up forensics - BBC

Day 23 (December 21): Defence closing speech for suspect Gary Dobson.

Forensics do not fit - BBC

Evidence holds no water - South London Press

Racist rant was no worse than Jeremy Clarkson - Mail Online

Day 24 (December 22): Defence closing speech for suspect David Norris.

Jurors told not to be pressured into returning guilty verdicts - Guardian

Not jury's job to right racism - BBC

Day 25 (December 28): The judge sums up the case.

Put aside any anger - and any sympathy - Mail Online

Anger cannot guide your decision, judge tells jury - Guardian

Day 26 (December 29): The jury are sent out to consider their verdicts.

Jury deliberates on verdict - Guardian

Day 27 (December 30): The jury continue deliberating.

January 3: Gary Dobson and David Norris are convicted of the murder or Stephen Lawrence.

Dobson and Norris found guilty - BBC

Stephen Lawrence verdict delivers justice after 18 year wait - Guardian

Criminal pasts of Lawrence killers revealed - Mail

Police hopeful of more prosecutions - Telegraph - A tale of two police investigations

Stephen Lawrence's murder left a shrunken, shattered family - Independent

Press release from the Met:

Two men have today (Tuesday, 3 Jan) been convicted of murdering Stephen Lawrence in Eltham, south London in 1993.

Following a six week trial at the Old Bailey Gary Dobson [16.06.75, 36ys], and David Norris, [22.8.76 - 35ys], were found guilty of being involved in the unprovoked attack on Stephen as he waited at a bus stop with a friend.

Dobson and Norris, who were 17 and 16, at the time of the murder will be sentenced tomorrow (Wednesday, 4 Jan).

The convictions come after a forensic review of the case found significant new scientific evidence on clothing seized from the suspects’ homes 18 years ago.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Cressida Dick said: ““We are very pleased for the family and those who loved Stephen. There have been several investigations over the last 18 years during which the Lawrence family have campaigned tirelessly for justice.

“This prosecution has depended upon previously unavailable scientific technology and techniques which led to the discovery of the new evidence.

“Throughout this inquiry there has been close co-operation between the Metropolitan Police, the CPS and counsel. We have also worked very closely with the Forensic Science Service and LGC Forensics.

“The Lawrence family were kept informed at all stages of the forensic review and subsequent re-investigation. We pay tribute to Mr and Mrs Lawrence’s courage and dignity. They have contributed to major changes within policing, the law and society as a whole.”

Previous investigations into the murder had not resulted in anyone being convicted. Three men, including Dobson, were acquitted of the murder in 1996 following a private prosecution brought by the Lawrence family.

In 2005 preliminary work began to consider whether a forensic review was viable and in June 2006 a full forensic review commenced and all material which was still available was provided to LGC Forensics.

Whilst the forensic review got underway, officers began to review and re-examine material held from earlier phases of the investigation to better understand the history of the case, and what evidential opportunities, if any, might exist.

As a result of learning gained in the Damilola Taylor case, and knowledge that forensic advancements had assisted in the finding of previously undiscovered evidence, consideration was given to re-examining any exhibits remaining in the Lawrence case.

New thinking and technology together with an enhanced briefing of scientists by police instigated a strategy that found significant new forensic evidence.

A very small blood stain, which appeared to have soaked into the weave of the fabric, was found on the collar of a jacket seized from Gary Dobson’s wardrobe; and numerous very small flakes of possible blood were located on the jacket’s surface.

DNA profiles from all the blood stain and blood fragments matched Stephen’s profile. It was not disputed in court that the blood was Stephen’s.

A number of textile fibres were found on the jacket and in the original police packaging, which match the constituent fibres of Stephen’s polo shirt, cardigan and jacket.

On a cardigan seized from Gary Dobson’s home, fibres were found which match the constituent fibres of Stephen’s jacket. Textile fibres matching those making up this cardigan were also found on Stephen’s jacket and trousers.

Scientists also found a human hair with the same DNA type as Stephen Lawrence or one of his maternal relatives on a pair of jeans seized from Norris’ home.

On the tapings of a sweatshirt seized from the Norris home six cotton fibres, which appeared green with occasional blue patches, were found, which matched the constituent fibres of Stephen Lawrence’s green trousers. Also found was one pink-orange cotton fibre, which matched the constituent fibres of Stephen Lawrence’s polo shirt.

A painstaking process was then carried out by the investigation team to account for the whereabouts and handling of the exhibits since they were seized in 1993.

During the trial both Dobson and Norris advanced a defence based upon theories that the new scientific evidence was found on their clothing as a result of cross contamination arising from how exhibits were handled both in the initial stages of the investigation and subsequently.

Evidence given in the prosecution case included statements made by a reviewing scientist whose conclusion was that cross contamination is extremely unlikely to have been responsible for the evidence found.

During the summer of 2010 the Metropolitan Police team who had conducted the forensic review consulted with the CPS and counsel.

In August 2010, following legal advice, AC Cressida Dick wrote to the DPP to make an application under Sec 85, Criminal Justice Act 2003 for his authority to investigate a previously acquitted person, Gary Dobson, in connection with the murder.

The following month, the DPP did authorise a fresh investigation and David Norris was arrested and interviewed about the murder on Tuesday 7th September 2010. He did not reply to any of the questions asked of him.

Gary Dobson was arrested and interviewed on the same day. He did not reply to any of the questions asked of him.

On Wednesday 8 September 2010 both men were charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Norris, who had not previously been acquitted of the murder, appeared at Camberwell Magistrate’s Court (by ‘virtual Court’) and was remanded in custody to appear at the Central Criminal Court on Thursday 9 September 2010. Dobson was arraigned at the Central Criminal Court within 24 hours of the charge (as required by the CJ Act 2003) and he and Dobson were both remanded in custody.

The DPP subsequently made a formal application to the Court for a hearing to apply to quash Dobson’s acquittal.

On the 11th and 12th of April, the Court of Appeal heard the application by the Police and Crown Prosecution Service to quash the acquittal of Gary Dobson.

On the 18th of May 2011, The Court of Appeal ruled in support of the application made by the Director of Public Prosecutions to quash the acquittal of Gary Dobson and order a re-trial for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. David Norris was also charged with murder.

Both defendants were arraigned at the Central Criminal Court on July 1st 2011 and were remanded in custody. The trial commenced on Monday 14th November 2011.


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