Spate of racist stabbings in Eltham had gone unpunished
One alleged victim of the Acourt gang, who was lucky to survive after being stabbed in the stomach, said he was "overjoyed" that two of its members now face jail.
Gurdeep Bhangal, now 41, was attacked with a kitchen knife outside his father's Wimpy franchise in Eltham on 11 March 1993, during a spate of racist attacks in the weeks before Stephen Lawrence's murder. He had confronted a group of abusive white youths that he alleges included David Norris. Another member of the group stabbed him.
"The knife went in from the side of my stomach, through my bowel and missed my spine by about a centimetre," said Mr Bhangal. Police investigated the attack but no charges were brought
Campaigners claim that the failure of police to act created a culture of impunity. The Macpherson inquiry report highlighted the case and said that Jamie Acourt, David Norris, Neil Acourt and Gary Dobson had not been picked out during identity parades.
The family of one man killed 20 months before Stephen Lawrence blamed police and prosecutors for failing to crack down on gangs. Rolan Adams, 15, was killed in February 1991. A group of 15 thugs attacked Rolan and his brother but only one, Mark Thornburrow, was convicted of murder and jailed for a minimum of 10 years. He was not connected to the Acourt gang. "The judge acknowledged that it was racist and he carried and used a knife," said Rolan's father, Richard Adams. "If Thornburrow had received the sentence he deserved, the knife-carrying culture that followed could have been stopped in its tracks."
The area was known as a hotbed of racist activity even before then. Twelve families fled the area, according to racism monitors.
In July 1992, Rohit Duggal was stabbed to death by a white youth outside a kebab shop. The killer, Peter Thompson, was found guilty of murder. He was said to have links to the Acourt gang. The attack came a year after the stabbing of another man outside the same shops.
Kevin London, a black teenager, claimed he was confronted in November 1992 by a gang of white youths, including Gary Dobson, who was armed with a large knife. The claim came to light only after the killing of Stephen Lawrence. No charges were laid.
In one week in March 1993, two men were stabbed in Eltham High Street, with witnesses describing members of the Acourt gang. The following week, a white man, Stacey Benefield, was stabbed in the chest. He identified David Norris as the attacker and Neil Acourt as being with him. Norris was the only man tried. He was acquitted.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 2 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 3 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 5 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries