Eighteen years after Lawrence death, jury retires to weigh verdict

Judge tells jurors to set aside any emotions as they start deliberations in murder trial

A jury must consider if violent racist comments caught on camera by two men accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence was "big talk by teenage boys" or indicated their involvement in his fatal stabbing, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

Mr Justice Treacy said the footage recorded in a flat by police 20 months after the killing was just one thing the jury had to review "on the basis of cool, calm consideration" as he sent them out in a case that has entered its seventh week.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, are accused of being part of a five- or six-strong racist gang that chased, surrounded and knifed Mr Lawrence as he was waiting for a bus in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April, 1993.

The footage, secretly recorded at Mr Dobson's flat, captures him boasting of how he threatened to slash a black man with a knife, the court has heard. Mr Norris is heard telling friends of a fantasy about spending his final moments running riot with guns killing ethnic minorities and police. Mr Dobson told the trial he felt disgusted and embarrassed at the secret recordings after they came to light and claimed he was not racist.

"The Crown says it makes it more likely that if they were taking part in the attack they had the necessary state of mind to make them guilty of murder," the judge said yesterday.

The two men were charged with murder after new scientific evidence came to light in 2008. It included fibres from Stephen Lawrence's clothing and a tiny bloodstain found on a jacket owned by Mr Dobson. The chances the blood did not come from Mr Lawrence were a billion to one, the court has heard.

The two men deny murder and claim forensic material linking them to the attack is a result of contamination after their clothing and that of Mr Lawrence were stored in the same place.

Both Mr Dobson and Mr Norris claim they were at home at the time of the attack. Mr Norris's mother said she was certain her son had been at home. But the judge said that jury must ask why the family had told police of the alibi in 1993. "You will have to consider whether a mother, seeing her son accused of a murder at the time when on her own account she would have been certain he was at home, would have said nothing.

"The Crown suggests she had come along to help her son and has not given truthful evidence. She insisted she had."

The jury of eight men and four women was sent out at 2.40pm yesterday and told by Mr Justice Treacy to take as long as they needed and to return with a unanimous verdict. It will continue considering its verdicts today.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction