Pair jailed for life for Stephen Lawrence murder


T20I Captain
Aug 18, 2010
Post of the Week
Finally. Hope those two scumbags rot in jail. One of the most high-profile cases of racism in the UK, and exposed institutional racism within the Met.

Two men found guilty of the 1993 racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in south-east London have been jailed for life.

Gary Dobson will serve a minimum of 15 years and two months, and David Norris 14 years and three months.

The pair were sentenced at the Old Bailey under old guidelines and as if they were juveniles because both were under 18 when the black teenager died.

The judge, Mr Justice Treacy, described the crime as a "murder which scarred the conscience of the nation".

Dobson, 36, and Norris, 35, were the first people convicted over the fatal attack on Mr Lawrence by a group of white youths near a bus stop in Eltham in April 1993.

Speaking outside court, Stephen Lawrence's mother Doreen said the minimum terms were quite low but she recognised "the judges' hands were tied" and thanked him for his sentencing remarks which recognised the stress the family had suffered for 18 years.

'No hiding behind ages'
"He recognised the men and what they had done and there is no hiding behind their ages," she said.

"It's the beginning of starting a new life. We have been in limbo for so long."

Stephen Lawrence's father, Neville, said: "This is only one step in a long, long journey."

He thanked the police, the judge and the jury, and called on the pair to "give up" the other people involved in his son's murder.

At an earlier media conference on Wednesday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "The other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easily in their beds."

He added: "We are still investigating this case and I would just like to take this opportunity, if anybody out there has any more information or any evidence, even after all this time, please tell us then we'll do the rest."

In his sentencing remarks, which have now been published online, the judge also said he hoped the convictions of Norris and Dobsons would "not close the matter", and that police would be alert to further lines of inquiry.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Treacy said the murder was committed for no other reason than racial hatred.

He said Mr Lawrence was completely blameless and helpless, and the "gravity of this case is high".

But he added that the sentences were lower than some would expect as he was "constrained by Parliament".

"I'm sure that you knew one of your group was armed with a knife that night," the judge told Dobson and Norris.

He said it was "a brief but co-ordinated attack, a racist taunt, a charge and a swallowing up of Stephen Lawrence".

"The evidence does not prove you had the knife, but the holder had it with your approval," he said. "It does not matter the knife was not in your hands. You - Dobson - repeatedly lied as part of group loyalty."

Mr Justice Treacy said the encounter was chance, not premeditated, but Dobson and Norris were prepared to attack if the opportunity arose.

He said there could be no mitigation for contrition because none had been shown. He said the pair were streetwise and not immature when the crime was committed.

Mr Justice Treacy said: "Stephen Lawrence is not the only victim of this crime. His family, (two parents, a brother and a sister), whose victim impact statements I have read, have been most grievously affected.

"So has his friend Duwayne Brooks. Of that I have no doubt."

Mr Brooks, who was with Mr Lawrence on the night of the attack, had wept while giving evidence at the trial.

The Lawrence case had previously "shamed" police, he said, but they could now be commended for their work, as could the forensic scientists involved in obtaining the evidence which allowed the prosecution of Dobson and Norris to take place.

As Mr Justice Treacy rose to leave the court, there was applause from some members of the public, but Dobson's father, Stephen, shouted: "Shame on all of you."

BBC correspondents said the press benches were packed for the sentencing and there was a huge queue for the public gallery. The courtroom had to be rearranged to allow members of Stephen Lawrence's family to attend, and Mr Justice Treacy allowed some journalists to stand.

The prosecution had relied on new forensic evidence after an earlier case was dropped and a private prosecution by the Lawrence family against three men - including Dobson - failed.

Scientists conducting a review of the case in 2007 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. The scientists recovered the material from evidence the police had held all along using advanced techniques which were not available to the original case scientists.

Dobson and Norris denied murdering Mr Lawrence and 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.

Police arrested Dobson and Norris and three other suspects in the months after Mr Lawrence's murder in April 1993 but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the case, saying the evidence of a key witness was unreliable.

The CPS later said fresh evidence presented by the Lawrence family's barrister was not sufficient for a new prosecution and the family launched a private prosecution against Gary Dobson and two others, which failed.

An inquest later delivered a verdict of unlawful killing "in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five youths" and in 1999 a public inquiry into the case led to the Metropolitan Police being branded institutionally racist.

Matthew Ryder QC represented the Lawrence family in its civil claim against the police. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the Lawrence case was a "Rosa Parks moment" for British society.

"It was a moment when you saw the victims of injustice fighting for justice and the system letting them down and I think for that reason it profoundly changed how we view race and racism within this society," Mr Ryder said.

The former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Lord Blair told Today the case had seen police move from a "colour-blind" approach to policing to one which understood the previous experiences and expectations held by different communities.

"The legacy of Stephen Lawrence is just of the most enormous change possible in policing."

Mr Lawrence was buried in Jamaica and his family regularly visit his grave.
From what i know there were 5 suspects. But only a Pair have been arrested and are due for sentencing.

Can't understand why the other 3 have not also been tried.
From what i know there were 5 suspects. But only a Pair have been arrested and are due for sentencing.

Can't understand why the other 3 have not also been tried.

New DNA evidence was found against these two only
The parents of Stephen Lawrence have said they are "sad" and "disappointed" that the investigation into their son's murder has been shelved by police.

Police investigating the racist murder said all "identified lines of inquiry have been completed" and it has moved to an "inactive phase".

Stephen was 18 years old when he was murdered by a gang of up to six men in Eltham, southeast London, on 22 April 1993.

Two people - David Norris and Gary Dobson - are serving life sentences after being convicted of murder nearly 20 years after the crime, but the rest have never faced justice.

Neville Lawrence, who has campaigned for justice for over two decades, said: "I am disappointed to hear this news but not surprised."

"I had hoped that the conviction of two of the killers in 2012 would lead to new evidence coming to light and a prosecution of the other suspects," he said.

"This has unfortunately not happened and, over the last few years, I have had to come to terms with the reality that some of the killers of Stephen may never be brought to justice for what they did."

His former wife, Baroness Lawrence, said "whilst the Metropolitan Police have given up, I never will".

"I am very sad that a line has now been drawn into the investigation... Despite this, I would still urge anyone who has any information that could help me get all of Stephen's killers convicted, to come forward," she said.

She added: "It is never too late to give a mother justice for the murder of her son."

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said that Scotland Yard has given Stephen's family "the assurance that we will continue to deal with any new information that comes to light".

"This was an appalling racist murder and I am sad that we have been unable to secure further convictions for Stephen, his family and friends," she said.

When Scotland Yard said two years ago that the investigation was unlikely to progress without new information, Stephen's mother Baroness Lawrence said she wanted the probe closed.

But Mr Lawrence said he would never give up and that he wanted "total justice".

In his latest statement, he said he did not regret his fight for justice, "although the burden has at times felt too heavy for a family to bear".

Dame Cressida said the investigation would still be "periodically reviewed" in case it could be picked up again, for example if there are advances in technology.

She said it was "deeply frustrating" the other suspects have not been convicted, but added that "as a result of ceaseless campaigning for justice by Stephen's parents, profound changes have happened in policing, the law and wider society".

Later inquiries found the original murder investigation was hampered by incompetence, racism and claims of police corruption.

Mr Lawrence told of how "police failures meant that we as a family had to fight a system as well as deal with the grief of losing our son".

In 1994, the Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution, and later that year Stephen's family mounted an unsuccessful private prosecution against the five original suspects.

An investigation by the Police Complaints Authority three years later, undertaken by Kent Police, found there were missed opportunities in the original police investigation.

A public inquiry was launched and two years later the McPherson report concluded the police made mistakes and were guilty of "institutional racism".

Norris and Dobson were found guilty of murder in 2012 after tiny traces of forensic evidence were discovered years after the crime, and a change in the law meant that Dobson was allowed to be tried twice for Stephen's murder.

Investigators have continued to review evidence and appeal for further witnesses, and launched a larger appeal to commemmorate 25 years since the crime.

But despite receiving some new information, there were no major breakthroughs and the investigation has moved to an inactive phase.
It's extremely sad and frankly a disgrace that the police have given up on such a vile, violent, racially-motivated case. It took nearly 20 years just to bring 2 of them to justice, I have little hope the police will ever be able to finish the job.
Stephen Lawrence case as relevant as ever, says mum

Stephen Lawrence's mother says her son's story "remains as important and relevant as ever" on the 30th anniversary of his murder.

The 18-year-old was stabbed in a racist attack by a gang of white youths as he waited for a bus in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April 1993.

A report into the failed investigation found "institutional racism" in the Met Police.

A private memorial service earlier took place to mark the anniversary.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joined Stephen's mother, Baroness Lawrence, at the ceremony at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also attended.

Sir Keir made a short speech and read a poem by Maya Angelou at the request of Baroness Lawrence.

He told the memorial that, "contrasted against the very worst side of Britain, Stephen represented the best", as he said the teenager had represented "a life which shone with the light of potential".

Sir Keir was director of public prosecutions when two of Mr Lawrence's killers were brought to justice.

Stephen's younger brother, Stewart Lawrence, also gave a speech at the memorial.