Private murder prosecution opens

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In a rare private prosecution, a QC yesterday outlined the case against four white youths, accused of the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence. The case follows a campaign by 18-year-old Stephen's family following his fatal stabbing at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993.

The family sat in court as Michael Mansfield QC asked a magistrate to commit the four - Luke Knight, 18, Neil Acourt, 19, his brother Jamie, 18, and David Norris, 18 - to a crown court for trial in an unusual old- style committal where evidence is called for the prosecution and the defence. The Belmarsh stipendiary magistrate, David Cooper, will then decide if there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed. The hearing continues today.