Sunday 23 July 2017

Swaggering Lawrence racist killers Dobson and Norris jailed after 18 years

Murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. Photo: PA
Gary Dobson and David Norris
Stephen Lawrence's father Neville arrives at the Central Criminal Court, London. Photo: PA
Stephen Lawrence's father Neville arrives at the Central Criminal Court, London. Photo: PA

Margaret Davis and Shenai Raif

TWO men were finally jailed today for the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence nearly 19 years ago.

Gary Dobson was sentenced to at least 15 years and two months. David Norris was given a minimum of 14 years and three months for the murder, which Mr Justice Treacy said was a "terrible and evil crime".



Yesterday they were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury of killing Mr Lawrence, who was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths in 1993.



They were sentenced as Britain's top police officer Scotland Yard Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said "the other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easily in their beds".



Passing sentence, the judge told the pair: "A totally innocent 18-year-old youth on the threshold of a promising life was brutally cut down in the street in front of eye witnesses by a racist, thuggish gang.



"You were both members of that gang. I have no doubt at all that you fully subscribed to its views and attitudes."



He said that undercover police footage of the pair using racist obscenities showed "disgusting and shocking scenes", and that the murder was committed "for no other reason than racial hatred."



Mr Justice Treacy said that neither Mr Lawrence nor his friend Duwayne Brooks, who was with him on the night of the fatal attack, had done anything to harm, threaten or offend the group.



The evidence in the trial could not prove who wielded the knife, but he said that whoever used it had done so with Dobson and Norris's "knowledge and approval".



He said: "Whilst the attack on Stephen Lawrence himself clearly could not have been premeditated since it was a chance encounter, I cannot accept that a crime of this type simply arose on the spur of the moment.



"The way in which the attack took place strongly suggests to me that your group, if not actively seeking out a victim, was prepared, if the opportunity arose, to attack in the way in which you did."



He said that neither of them had shown "the slightest regret or remorse" since the murder and they had both lied to the court.



Court 16 was packed, with many people standing for the sentencing.



A technical fault meant an annexe could not be used and several members of the Lawrence family were moved into the main courtroom.



Doreen Lawrence sat at the back of a row of lawyers' benches and in front of her former husband, Neville, to see the men sentenced for the murder of their son.



They were only feet away from the two men in the dock. Mrs Lawrence glanced round to look at Norris as he was sentenced.



Dobson and Norris had been allowed to sit during most of Mr Justice Treacy's remarks.



But they stood as the judge handed down their their life terms and told them the minimum number of years they would serve.



They stood defiantly and, when it was over, Dobson left speedily, stepping over Norris who had bent down to pick up his papers.



Norris then kissed his hand and offered it up to the public gallery in a thumbs-up sign before he too was led from the court.



The sentencing took less than half an hour and had been heard in silence.



But as the judge rose to leave, a few people began clapping in the public gallery.



Dobson's father, Stephen, called down to the court: "Shame on all of you."



There were extra City of London police officers on duty outside the court.



After sentencing, Mr Justice Treacy called forward Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll, who has been the senior officer in the case for a number of years.



He told him: "The Macpherson Inquiry shamed and humbled the Metropolitan Police by its conclusions as to the errors and failures in the initial investigation into this case.



"These findings are valid and are accepted by the Metropolitan Police. That said, it's right to acknowledge the hard work and professionalism of other officers of the Metropolitan Police in more recent times, in collaboration with highly skilled scientists, the Crown Prosecution Service and the dedicated prosecuting team in this court.



"Through you, I commend them all. At least a measure of justice has been achieved at last.



"However, the convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris will not, I hope, close the file on this murder. On the evidence before the court there are still three or four other killers of Stephen Lawrence at large.



"Just as advances in science have brought two people to justice, I hope the Metropolitan Police will be alert to future lines of inquiry, not only based on developments in science but perhaps also information from those who have been silent so far, wherever they may be."

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