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THE WEEKLY WORLD EDITION OF The Daily Telegraph AND The Sunday Telegraph
January 11 - 17 2012 No. 1068
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By Mark Hughes and Martin Evans IT HAD taken 18 years of relentless campaigning, a failed prosecution, a public inquiry, a change to Britain’s ancient laws on double jeopardy and a new £4million police investigation.
But last week, the tearful parents of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence were able to voice their “joy and relief” as two racist thugs were at last convicted of their son’s killing.
Gary Dobson was sentenced to at least 15 years and two months and David Norris to at least 14 years and three months.
Police said they did not have enough evidence to prosecute other suspects, but Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said his force would pursue Stephen’s other killers. He said they should “not rest easy in their beds”. Detectives on the case will meet this week to build a prosecution against other suspects in the black teenager’s murder.
A spokesman for the Met said last week that officers had received several phone calls with new information that would be followed up by the force. The officer in charge of the case, Det Chief Insp Clive Driscoll, told the BBC that police would be visiting Dobson and Norris in prison to see whether they would be willing to assist the inquiry.
He said he remained “optimistic” about further progress being made in the case.
However, Dobson’s mother, Pauline, said last week that her son “doesn’t know who did it”. His family said he planned to appeal against the conviction.
Officers are likely to try to use new forensic-analysis techniques to try to secure further convictions. They also hope that the “changing allegiances”
Guilty: Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted and jailed for murdering Stephen Lawrence, pictured right among people who know the gang will result in new witnesses coming forward.
Mr Justice Treacy, who presided over the seven-week trial, said he accepted that Dobson’s and Norris’s sentences would be seen as low, but he was constrained by law and had to treat the pair as juveniles because they were younger than 18 at the time of the murder.
After passing his sentence, the judge called Mr Driscoll forward. He told the detective that the Metropolitan Police had been “shamed and humbled” after an official inquiry into its handling of the case had found the force was “institutionally racist”.
He said: “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.”
Justice was finally done at 2.39pm on Tuesday last week, when Dobson and Norris were found guilty of being part of a gang of “like-minded racists” who stabbed the 18 year-old to death in Eltham, south London, in 1993.
Last week’s unanimous verdicts were the first time anyone has been convicted in a case that has been a stain on the reputation of the justice system for almost two decades.
Doreen and Neville Lawrence, who have separated since their son’s death, welcomed at least a partial victory in their quest for justice. But Mrs Lawrence criticised the “miserable failures” of the police in their bid to prosecute his killers.
Mr Lawrence also appealed for the other members of the gang to face court as well, calling on Dobson and Norris to name those responsible. Police still believe three other men – Neil and Jamie Acourt and Luke Knight – were involved in the attack.
“How can I celebrate,” Mrs Lawrence asked afterwards, “when my son lies buried, when I cannot see him or speak to him? When I will not see him grow up or go to university, or get married or have children? These verdicts will not bring my son back.”
She said that “this day could have come 18 years ago” had the police “who were meant to find my son’s killers” not “failed so miserably”.
“If the police had done their job properly I would have spent the last 18 years grieving for my son rather than fighting to get his killers to court,” she added. Mr Lawrence, in a statement issued through his solicitor, said: “My life was torn apart by the senseless murder of my son over 18 years ago. Unfortunately, no one was brought before a court at that time, as they should have been.
“The loss itself, together with the lack of justice have meant that I have not been able to rest all this time. I am therefore full of joy and relief that today, finally, two of my son’s killers have been convicted for his murder.”
But he added: “I don’t think I will be able to rest until they are all brought to justice.
“I’m praying that these people now realise that they’ve been found out and say to themselves, ‘Yes, I did this awful deed, but I wasn’t alone in that action that night and there are other people also guilty of what I’ve done’, and name them.”
Until last week, Stephen Lawrence’s murder was the country’s most notorious unsolved killing. The initial investigation was riddled with errors, undermining attempts to bring a
Continued on page 2
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