Key Lawrence evidence items kept in same bag


Clothing worn by Stephen Lawrence on the night he was murdered was stored in the same bag as that of one of his alleged killers after being examined by forensic scientists, the trial heard yesterday.

A laboratory worker was forced to concede that in the early Nineties there were no regulations that banned putting both the victim's and the suspect's garments in the same bag – as each were sealed in separate evidence sacks.

Almost two decades after the 18-year-old was stabbed to death a new murder trial hinges on evidence found on two of the original suspects' clothing.

The prosecution claims that tiny blood spots and flecks, as well as fibres and hairs, found on clothes belonging to Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, during a cold case review in 2006 prove they were part of the gang of white youths on 22 April 1993. Both men deny murder and their defence teams reject the crown case as merely a "teaspoon" of evidence, the product of cross-contamination over the years.

Christopher Bower, a stores worker at a forensics laboratory in Lambeth, south London, told the Old Bailey trial yesterday that the exhibits in the case were returned to police from the lab in November 1995 all individually sealed in paper evidence sacks. But packages containing a cardigan and jacket seized from Mr Dobson's house were put in the same outer plastic sack as one which held Mr Lawrence's black Raiders jacket.

The jury has already heard admissions that tiny traces of evidence might have been on the outside of the sacks but this was not considered an issue in the early Nineties when DNA testing was in its infancy. In cross-examination, Timothy Roberts QC, for Mr Dobson, asked Mr Bower: "When you made a choice as to which packages should go into the same over bag together, what criteria informed that choice?"

Mr Bower replied: "There was no criteria – random packages from the same case would go into an overbag."

The trial has heard how the evidence now relied upon had been examined repeatedly, initially in 1993 and again in 1995 prior to a private prosecution brought by Mr Lawrence's family. It was also evidence in the 1997 inquest and sent to Kent Police for its investigation of a complaint into the conduct of Met officers in the first murder inquiry.

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk