Gary Dobson denies Lawrence involvement


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The Independent Online

One of the men accused of murdering Stephen  Lawrence  today denied any involvement in the teenager's death and insisted he was at home at the time of the killing.

Gary Dobson also told a jury at the Old Bailey that he was "disgusted" by racist language that he had used in a police surveillance video.

Today as he was giving evidence Timothy Roberts QC asked Dobson: "Did you have anything to do with the events that led to the death of Stephen  Lawrence ?"

Dobson replied: "No, I did not."

He claimed that he was at home all evening on April 22 1993, apart from going to visit his friends Neil and Jamie Acourt at about 11.45pm to borrow a Bob Marley CD and smoke a joint.

Dobson's parents were having a curry with their friends at the family home in Phineas Pett Road, Eltham, south-east London that night, the court heard.

Key forensic evidence was found on a Supertramp jacket belonging to Dobson, but he said he had not worn it for three years before Mr  Lawrence  was murdered.

He said: "I wore it to school once or twice and had the complete mick taken out of me."

Dobson also claimed that another key exhibit, a cardigan, belonged to his father.

He said that he heard about the murder that night when another boy visited the Acourts ' house, but that they did not talk much about it afterwards.

"I would imagine we would have mentioned something about it but I don't think there was much conversation about it at all," he told the jury.

When police made house-to-house inquiries Dobson said he did not think it was necessary to tell them he had gone out after the time of the murder.

He said: "It was quite a bit nerve-wracking, it was the first time I'd ever been spoken to by a police officer."

Later in police interviews he also repeatedly denied knowing co-defendant David Norris.

He said: "The only reason I can give you for that, I stupidly thought people's names I mentioned would be getting visits from the police. I stupidly denied knowing him."

Dobson told the court that he clearly remembered Michael Mansfield QC holding up his jacket at the inquest into Mr  Lawrence 's death in 1997, despite Mr Mansfield insisting the coat remained in its evidence bag.

Dobson said: "I clearly recall him reaching into the bag and lifting the jacket up."

Dobson, 36, and Norris, 35, deny taking part in the gang attack in which Mr  Lawrence  was killed in Eltham, south east London, in 1993.

This morning the jury was shown obscenity-laden police surveillance video of the pair in 1994.

In a series of clips shot at Dobson's flat in Footscray Road, Eltham, both defendants were shown launching racist tirades.

Today, Dobson said he was "disgusted" and "embarrassed" by the language he had used.

He said: "There's not really much I can defend or justify."

Dobson said he had made up a story about threatening a black colleague with a Stanley knife because he was "being young and stupid".

Referring to another racist outburst about an advert featuring black people, he said: "I'm embarrassed by it to be honest with you. It's not comfortable sitting there watching it. I had not seen it for 15 years."

He went on: "It's not something I'm proud of and it's certainly not the way I was brought up to speak either."

Mark Ellison QC, prosecuting, asked him about the secret filming adding: "That day you held racist views?"

Dodson replied: "I am not trying to excuse it. I don't think there is no denying it with the words I was using."

He agreed he at the time referred to black people as n****** but treated it as "banter".

Dobson was asked about parts of the tape in which he and Acourt were seen with knives.

Dobson was bare-chested and walked around the room with a knife held horizontally at waist level.

He said he was probably cooking dinner.

But when asked about Acourt apparently putting a large knife down his trousers before leaving the flat with Norris, Dobson said he had not seen the incident.

Pressed further, he added: "At that stage, we had been receiving many, many threats. He might have been doing it for his protection - I don't know.

"I don't recall him doing doing that in front of me."

Mr Ellison asked: "He just used to muck about with them in the flat?"

Dobson answered "Yes".

The trial was adjourned to tomorrow.