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Stephen Lawrence's mother Doreen and brother Stuart (left) speak to the media outside the High Court in London earlier this year. Two men were today convicted of his murder. Lewis Whyld/PA Archive

Two guilty of racist 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence

The black teenager was stabbed to death in 1993 by a white gang apparently motivated by little bit his skin colour.

TWO MEN have been found guilty of the murder of a black teenager in London in 1993 – bringing to an end a major case which prompted significant changes in the British legal system.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were found guilty of stabbing Stephen Lawrence at a bus stop in an unprovoked attack. The two were part of a gang of white youths who were verbally abusing Lawrence, who was 18 when he was killed on April 22, 1993.

The long-running investigation into Lawrence’s death had become a trigger for significant legal change in Britain – and had exposed apparent racism in the London Metropolitan police.

That finding – in a judicial report in 1999 – said the murder had revealed “institutional racism” in the police force, and prompted all public bodies in the UK to adopt anti-racism policies.

It had also brought about the end of the ‘double jeopardy’ rule, where suspects could not be put on trial twice for the same crime – after Dobson, who had been acquitted in a private prosecution in 1995, was once again connected to the death by new forensic evidence.

That evidence showed that textile fibres, hair and blood belonging to Lawrence and his clothes had been found on clothing seized from the defendants – which defence lawyers put down to accidental contamination by police investigators.

Dobson maintained his innocence, shouting in court today that it had “condemned an innocent man”.

Norris made no comment as the verdict was read to a silent courtroom, staring straight ahead.

Lawrence’s mother Doreen told reporters outside the court that the verdict was “not a reason to celebrate – all I feel now is relief… that two of my son’s killers have been caught and finally brought to justice.”

To some extent, I can move forward with my life… me and my family were put through 18 years of grief and uncertainty, not knowing when – or if – we would ever get justice.

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