Lawrence accused 'disgusted' by racist rant in secret footage

Court sees 1994 recording from hidden camera of Dobson and Norris's offensive remarks

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The Independent Online

One of the men accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence was captured on a hidden police camera boasting of how he threatened to repeatedly slash a black man with a knife, a court heard yesterday.

Gary Dobson, 36, accepted that he had lied to police after his arrest and claimed he felt "disgusted and embarrassed" at the secret recordings of him and his friends making a string of violent racist comments.

But Mr Dobson claimed he was at his parents' house at the time of the murder and denied being part of a racist gang who stabbed Mr Lawrence to death in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993.

Mr Dobson was giving evidence at the Old Bailey after jurors watched footage from a camera hidden in the skirting board of the living room at his two-bedroom flat in Eltham. The recordings, made between 2-18 December 1994, showed Mr Dobson, his co-defendant David Norris, 35, his flatmate Charles Martin and friends including Neil Acourt, Luke Knight and Danny Caetano.

On the footage, Mr Norris is heard telling friends of a fantasy about spending his final moments running riot with guns. "If I was going to kill myself, do you know what I would do? I would go and kill every black cunt, every Paki, every copper or mug that I knew," he says.

"I would go down Catford and places like that, I'm telling you now, with two sub-machine guns, and I would take one of them, skin the black cunt alive, mate, torture him, set him alight," he is heard telling friends. "I would blow their two arms and legs off and say: 'Go on, you can swim home now.'"

In footage from 7 December, Mr Acourt – who is not on trial – was seen picking up a large knife from a window sill before apparently shoving it down the front of his trousers. He then leaves the flat with Mr Norris.

Members of the group are heard complaining about an Asian family winning a lottery prize and criticising black contestants on the television programme Gladiators. As one contestant is interviewed, Mr Acourt shapes his fingers into a gun, points at the screen and shouts: "Bang you cunt."

Mr Dobson, pictured carrying a knife in the flat while making lewd comments, is heard telling a friend that he had threatened to slash a man over a dispute over a snatched baseball cap at a building site where they both worked. He tells Mr Acourt that he pulled a Stanley knife out and warned him: "I'm going to slice this down you seven times."

Mr Dobson told the court yesterday that the man was a friend and that it had been workplace "banter".

The court heard that Mr Dobson was arrested and questioned about the murder in 1995 and denied being racist. He said that stabbing innocent people "is not something we would enjoy".

Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Dobson admitted he had lied about knowing Mr Norris when he was first arrested two weeks after the murder. He said he had wanted to protect friends from having their doors put in by the police.

He claimed he was "just being young and stupid" and could not defend himself for using racist language.

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."

Mark Ellison QC, prosecuting, asked: "Did you hold racist views when these tapes were made?"

"I don't think there's no denying that with the words I'm using," said Mr Dobson. Mr Dobson and Mr Norris both deny murder. The case continues.