Sunday 17 December 2017

Stephen Lawrence’s best friend breaks down in tears as he recounts murder

Duwayne Brooks
Duwayne Brooks

Margaret Davis

THE BEST friend of Stephen Lawrence broke down today as he relived the heartbreaking final moments of the black teenager's life.

Other sobs could be heard in the Old Bailey courtroom as Duwayne Brooks, 37, described the confused and fatally wounded Stephen asking him what was wrong.

Mr Brooks, who gave evidence despite his father dying last night, said: "He jumps up and for a second I was relieved that nothing had happened and we ran up the road and we were running and he kept asking me to tell him what was wrong because he can't run properly. Blood was streaming out around his neck and through his jacket."

The pair, who had known each other since they were 11, were set upon by a gang of white attackers in Eltham, south east London in April 1993.

Pausing to close his eyes and place his thumb and finger across the bridge of his nose, Mr Brooks broke down in tears as he gave his evidence.

When prosecutor Mark Ellison QC offered to move through that part of his testimony quickly, he replied: "No, I want to say."

Mr Brooks went on: "He kept saying to me what happened to him, why was he running like that. Look at him, like I must tell him what's happened. Then we were running.

"I was frightened that ... the other guys would come back round."

The court heard that Mr Lawrence was stabbed and hit with a metal bar by his attackers.

Mr Brooks told the jury: "When I looked back I saw, at that moment in time, I don't know if you could call him the leader, but the guy who had the weapon, ran straight into him and, wham, just like that."

He raised his right arm to show the jury a striking motion.

"It was something shiny. At the time I was looking it was about this long (motioned his hands about a foot apart)."

He also said he was chased by one of the gang who had a metal bar.

"When I was being chased he had like a metal bar in his hand, and when I ran back he hit Stephen with the bar. He was getting up and he hit him which made him go back down."

Mr Ellison asked: "Did you see whereabouts?"

Mr Brooks answered: "It looked like he hit him in his head."

Mr Brooks said that when he saw Stephen get up, at first he was "relieved".

"I was being chased. The guy who was chasing me stopped and he ran back and hit Stephen. I was running back at the same time. The group ran off down Dickson Road, Stephen jumped up and then I was kind of relieved because I thought he'd just got a kicking. Then we ran across the road."

The violence broke out after the attackers had hurled racist abuse at Mr Lawrence and Mr Brooks, the jury was told.

"These guys have come across the road and one of them said, 'what what nigger'."

Mr Brooks added: "At the time I looked and I've seen where they are and I felt threatened. I started running back towards Shooters Hill and I said to Steve to run."

After his best friend collapsed in the street, Mr Brooks tried to get help using a phone box but the geographical information inside was wrong.

He then tried to get passers-by to help save Mr Lawrence's life.

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