Photos of Stephen Lawrence clothes released

 


Pictures of the bloodstained clothing worn by Stephen Lawrence on the night he was stabbed to death were released by police today.

The black jacket, blue cardigan, red polo t-shirt and green cord trousers were tattered and stained when photographed by officers after he died.

Images of the clothing are being used as part of a chart to help jurors in the trial of two men accused of Mr Lawrence's murder.

It is designed to assist them in following detailed accounts of how the black teenager's clothing was stored and handled by police.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both of south London, deny his murder.

Today jurors at the Old Bailey were also shown police surveillance photographs of Dobson and Norris outside a house in Bournbrook Road in Eltham, taken in April 1993 after Mr Lawrence died.

Another photograph was shown of Norris outside Southwark Police Station in May that year.

The court heard that Dobson appeared "nervous" when he was questioned during house to house inquiries three days after Mr Lawrence's murder.

Graham Cooke, then a detective constable, told the court: "In my opinion he was nervous at the time."

The retired police officer asked whether Dobson had been at the murder scene in Well Hall Road that night.

"Dobson said no, he was at home all night studying. He arrived home from college at 5.30pm, that his mother and father were indoors at the time," Mr Cooke said. "He said that he did not know the victim, he had heard about the incident from the papers."

Dobson was 17 at the time he was questioned and was a student at a college in Covent Garden, central London.

The court then heard from Robert Crane, a detective constable who was an exhibits officer at Eltham police station in 1993.

He told the jury that at the time he "had a degree of forensic awareness" and understood the potential for cross-contamination.

But the jury was told that he was not aware of any special procedures to prevent fibres or fragments being passed on to an exhibit by a police officer when they opened and resealed packages.

Detective Constable Steven Pye, who collected Mr Lawrence's personal belongings from hospital after he died, told the jury that the items were in plastic hospital sacks and he bagged them up in police paper sacks using rubber gloves.

The court was told that some of the paper bags were not sealed at the hospital because blood stains on the items were still wet and this could cause the paper sacks to collapse.

In cross examination, Timothy Roberts QC, for Dobson, asked: "Is the upshot of all of this, however it happened, that the clothing from Stephen Lawrence that was most heavily blood stained, and therefore might contaminate other things, remained in unsealed packages whilst you dealt with it?

Mr Pye replied: "The most heavily bloodstained would appear to have been placed in paper sacks and [the top of the sack] folded over, yes."

Mr Lawrence's jacket was later photographed on a groundsheet on the floor of an empty room at Eltham police station, the jury heard.

Mr Crane was recalled to give evidence about when the photographs were taken.

In cross examination Mr Roberts said: "At the time you weren't thinking about the risk of possibly picking up fibres or flakes by way of contamination."

Mr Crane replied: "No that was the norm."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

PA

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