Britain and racism: Stephen Lawrence

The Lawrence family gather outside the court yesterday.
The Lawrence family gather outside the court yesterday.

Two men have been convicted of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, whose death in 1993 sent shockwaves across Britain.

The murder prompted a public inquiry which found the Met police to be institutionally racist, resulted in a change to the double jeopardy law and was credited by many as marking the point when mainstream opinion recognised there were problems with racism in British society.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were both found guilty of murder, after jurors accepted the reliability of forensic evidence presented by the prosecution.

The prosecution was unable to demonstrate who wielded the knife against Mr Lawrence, who was killed by two stab wounds in Eltham, south-east London in 1993. But under rules of joint enterprise, the men can be convicted of murder despite not inflicting the killer blow if they knew the group intended to cause serious harm.

Forensic discoveries made 15 years after the murder held the key to the conviction.


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