Saturday 18 November 2017

Last moments of innocent teenager Stephen Lawrence recounted in court

Margaret Davis and Shenai Raif

MURDERED teenager Stephen Lawrence innocently chatted about football with his friend moments before he was stabbed in the street, a court heard today.

Hospital worker Royston Westbrook told the Old Bailey that he saw a group of white men "collide" with Mr Lawrence and Duwayne Brooks and violently attack them.

Mr Westbrook today re-lived the events of the night that Mr Lawrence died in Eltham, south east London, in April 1993.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both of south London, are on trial for the murder, which they deny.

Mr Westbrook told the court: "The two black boys, Stephen and Duwayne, were standing right by the bus stop. They were kicking about, they were talking about football... they were just generally chit-chatting."

The teenagers were discussing whether or not they should wait for a bus or walk back up to a roundabout to try to get another.

In the end they made the fateful decision to walk away, and were set upon by the gang.

Mr Westbrook told the court: "They just collided - that's what it looked like. They were just heading towards each other and that was it."

Re-living the attack, which happened more than 18 years ago, he went on: "They grabbed Duwayne Brooks' wrist but he turned his wrist and just pulled away. Duwayne ran towards the bus stop where we were standing and turned round and shouted something like 'Leg it, Steve' or 'Run, Stephen'."

Mr Brooks managed to run away but Mr Lawrence was forced to the ground.

Mr Westbrook told the jury: "I saw them surround Stephen and he went down basically through sheer weight of numbers in the middle of them... it looked at the time that someone went to punch him."

One of the attackers then lifted his leg to try to kick Mr Lawrence.

The court was told: "He lifted his leg backwards to give him a good kick. As he did that, Stephen came up between his legs, struggled up and ran up the road in the same direction as Duwayne Brooks had gone.

"I think that whoever was doing the kicking was aiming to give a good kick so he lifted his leg right up but Stephen saw the opportunity to get out."

The eyewitness, who was on his way home from working at Grove Park Hospital that night, did not see any weapon and thought the gang had only managed to punch Mr Lawrence.

He said: "It was so quick, it really was quick - it was about 10 seconds - and my impression going away from that was that they managed to punch him and that was it."

Moments later, while on a bus, he saw the stricken teenager lying on the ground.

Mr Westbrook described the 10-second attack and said Mr Lawrence got back to his feet almost as soon as he was down.

"He basically crossed over the road and ran for his life up the hill," he added.

He said the four or five white youths then just walked off.

"They stood there for a few seconds and then walked off."

After getting on a bus, he looked out and saw Mr Lawrence collapsed on the ground.

He said: "I could just see him lying on the floor and some sort of commotion."

Mr Westbrook added: "From my viewpoint, it was a completely unprovoked attack. They did nothing to justify it."

A youth who got on the bus with him said: "It looks like they got him because he was black, doesn't it?"

Mr Westbrook said the teenager told him he knew one of the black boys.

He said the youth at the front of the gang had been stocky and had dirty-blond hair.

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