Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Video: No investigation apparent at MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • Kerry due in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Europe

Two found guilty of Stephen Lawrence race murder in UK

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-04

A London jury found two white men guilty Tuesday of the brutal murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993. New forensic evidence helped convict the accused, who had both denied involvement in the racially motivated attack.

AFP - A jury found two white men guilty Tuesday of the murder 18 years ago of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in an unprovoked attack that became a defining moment in race relations in Britain.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, had denied involvement in the brutal knife attack on the 18-year-old at a bus stop in Eltham, southeast London in April 1993, by a gang of white youths who had shouted racist abuse.

But on the third day of their deliberations following an emotionally-charged six-week trial, the jury at the Old Bailey court in London found both men guilty on the basis of new forensic evidence.

The verdict brings some closure to one of Britain's most high-profile unsolved murders, although London's Metropolitan Police insisted they would attempt to bring the rest of the gang members to trial.

As he was led from the court, Dobson shouted: "You have condemned an innocent man here, I hope you can live with yourselves."

The pair will be sentenced Wednesday, with the starting point for jail terms around 12 years as they were under 18 at the time of the attack. However the judge may give higher sentences as the murder was racially motivated.

Lawrence's parents wept with relief at the verdict, but his mother Doreen, who has campaigned tirelessly for justice for her son, hit out at police for taking so long to secure the convictions.

"Had the police 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 told reporters outside the Old Bailey.

She added: "These verdicts will not bring my son back."

Lawrence's father Neville said in a statement read on his behalf that he was "full of joy and relief", but added: "There were five or six attackers that night. I do not think I will be able to rest until they are all brought to justice."

Scotland Yard's Acting Deputy Commissioner Cressida Dick said the force would not give up its search for the other killers, although she admitted that there were currently no live lines of inquiry.

"If we get new evidence, if we have further opportunities, we will respond to that... We don't see this as the end of the road," she said.

The Lawrence case has remained in the public eye both for its brutality and as one of the key moments in the modern history of British criminal justice.

A major judge-led inquiry into the handling of the case in 1999 found "institutional racism" within the police and led to significant changes in the way murders involving black victims are investigated.

Duwayne Brooks, Lawrence's best friend who was with him on the night of the murder but managed to escape the gang, tweeted: "Some justice at last."

The prosecution's case hinged on new forensic evidence unearthed by a cold case team using techniques unavailable to the original detectives, which linked the suspects to Lawrence through blood, hair and tiny fibres on their clothing.

Lawyers for Dobson and Norris had unsuccessfully argued that the evidence was the result of contamination by police because it had been badly stored.

The pair were among five men arrested in the weeks after the murder, but state prosecutors concluded that there was insufficient evidence to progress with murder charges for any of them.

In September 1994, Lawrence's family began a private prosecution against Dobson and two others, but it collapsed in 1996 and the trio were acquitted.

Nine years later, the law was changed to allow suspects to be tried twice for the same crime when there is new evidence, clearing the way for a fresh prosecution of Dobson in 2011.

He was already in prison, having been jailed for five years in July 2010 for supplying and possessing drugs.

Cressida Dick said it was a "matter of huge regret" that it had taken 18 years to convict anyone for the murder, but insisted the police had overhauled the way they investigate homicide as a result of the case.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the verdict "cannot ease the pain of losing a son".

"But, for Doreen and Neville Lawrence, I hope that it brings at least some comfort after their years of struggle," he said.

Date created : 2012-01-03

  • SOUTH AFRICA

    Defendants plead not guilty in white supremacist’s murder trial

    Read more

  • NORWAY

    Norway remembers massacre victims

    Read more

COMMENT(S)