Judge urges Met to bring other killers to justice


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The Independent Online

The head of Scotland Yard yesterday warned that the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence was far from over and vowed that the Metropolitan Police would do what it could to bring others to justice.

The comments from Bernard Hogan-Howe came as the Old Bailey judge sentencing Gary Dobson and David Norris put pressure on the Met to atone for its first bungled inquiry into the murder.

Sentencing the two killers, Mr Justice Treacy urged officers not to shut down the murder inquiry and told them to be alert to the possibilities of scientific advances. He also urged those "who have been silent so far" to come forward after 19 years. "The convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris will not, I hope, close the file on this murder," the judge said. "On the evidence before the court, there are still three or four killers of Stephen Lawrence at large."

Dobson, 36, who is already serving a jail term for drug-dealing, was sent to prison for a minimum of 15 years and two months. Norris, 35, was jailed for a minimum of 14 years and three months.

Mr Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, pictured above, said: "We are still investigating this case ... we are actively reviewing the consequences of [the conviction] ... and what opportunities that might give us for the future. The other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easily in their beds."

Nine other men – all members of the gang headed by Norris and his friend Neil Acourt – remain under suspicion of being involved in the fatal stabbing in Eltham, south-east London in 1993. Scotland Yard sources say the nine include three of the men who have previously been accused of the Lawrence murder, Neil Acourt, his brother Jamie Acourt and Luke Knight.

Several telephone calls have been received by the Yard following the convictions of Norris and Dobson and a spokesman confirmed that all new information would be investigated.

Dobson and Norris are being held at the top-security Belmarsh prison in south-east London. Police will talk to both men to see if they will provide further clues as to who was there on the night and who delivered the fatal blow.

Meanwhile, the Lawrence family will meet senior officers in the coming weeks to discuss whether the 23-strong investigation team remains together.

Yesterday Mr Lawrence's father, Neville, addressed a crowd of 200 people – some chanting "two down, three to go" – outside the Old Bailey. He called on the defendants to turn in others involved in the racist attack, saying: "One of my greatest hopes is these people have now realised they have been found out ... And they are going to give up the rest of the people so that I come out here again in a year's time and talk to you people again."