Clifford Norris: "Evil influence" who was a malign presence during the inquiry
Tuesday 06 March 2012
Clifford Norris was a major player in the south London drugs trade who reputedly used his contacts and his criminal know-how to keep his son out of the dock for the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
David and his two brothers grew up in an £800,000 mock-Tudor mansion in a leafy part of Bickley, Kent. Police who searched the house commented on the luxurious fixtures.
However, Clifford Norris was not there. Mr Norris – cited as an "evil influence" in the Macpherson report – had been on the run for five years at the time of the murder. But he remained a malign presence during the inquiry that followed.
His reputation was reputedly enough to keep witnesses from coming forward. The Independent last year met one man who had moved house for fear of reprisals after accusing David Norris of an assault.
Clifford Norris was run to ground in 1994 when a new team of senior officers realised the effect he was having on the inquiry. They hunted him down to a cafe in Sussex and then found a sub-machine gun and ammunition in cottages where he had been staying.
He was convicted of smuggling cannabis worth £1.3m in 1995 and sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison. But some claimed that by that time, he had already had a major effect on the inquiry. It is alleged that he schooled the suspects before they were brought before police interviews, in which most of them said nothing more than "no comment".
In 1993, Clifford Norris was also accused of trying to fix a trial involving David, who was accused of stabbing a young man in the chest. Even though Mr Norris was at that time on the run, he allegedly twice met the victim, Stacey Benefield, in south-east London and offered him thousands of pounds to change his story. David Norris was later cleared at trial.
Clifford Norris was pursued by the authorities for £400,000 from the proceeds of his crime. The house was sold and he now lives alone above a hardware shop in Ashford.
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Do you know this man? Amnesia sufferer found in park pleads for help in identifying who he is
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 3 Do you know this man? Amnesia sufferer found in park pleads for help in identifying who he is
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 5 Tony Abbott embarrasses Australia by praising Japanese WWII military, ‘getting on the sake’ and posing for ‘crotch-shot’ photo opportunity