Stephen Lawrence lab worker made errors


A lab worker made a series of errors in notes about clothes seized from a man suspected of murdering Stephen Lawrence, the Old Bailey heard today.

Yvonne Turner used the wrong case reference number on forms linked to a jacket and cardigan seized from Gary Dobson's house.

Referring to the jacket form, she said: "I wasn't concentrating and I wasn't focused at the stage when I wrote the case number in, but I've clearly got to grips with the case as I've written the correct item number."

She also wrote in block capitals that no tapings - when sticky tape is used to collect fibres - were made. However the jury was shown that the testing had been done, although Ms Turner could not be sure when.

Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both of south London, are accused of murdering Mr Lawrence, which they deny.

Forensic assistant Ms Turner had been working on items linked to the murder investigation and an unrelated robbery on October 28, 1993.

She wrote the case reference number for the robbery on examination notes for the jacket and cardigan, and similarly mislabelled tapings taken from the jacket.

The forensic expert could not be certain when the tapings were made, although she told the court that physically they would have stayed the same.

She said: "The tapings physically would be the same. There would just be a period of time between the examination notes and the tapings taken."

Jurors were shown a picture of Mr Lawrence's black jacket which was photographed on the laboratory floor apparently without a protective sheet.

In cross-examination by Timothy Roberts QC, for Dobson, Ms Turner admitted that the errors in her notes were "very irregular".

She said that she could not remember if she and boss Adrian Wain had initially decided against testing for fibres on the suspect's clothes.

"A strategy was not written down like it is nowadays, so it's hard to remember what was said," Ms Turner told the court. "Because I've written 'tapings not made' we're presuming that that discussion was had that we'd decided not to do tapings."

The court was also told that once clothes had been examined they were not securely sealed.

The forensic expert said: "They were placed in cupboards within the laboratory area and they were sealed but not completely sealed."

She agreed with Stephen Batten QC, for Norris, that in 1993 forensic staff were not concerned with possible contaminants on the outside of evidence bags.

It would be "common practice" to put bags containing the victim's clothing in a larger bag with suspects' items, she said.

Earlier the court was told that exhibits relating to five people originally suspected of the murder were stored in the same room at Eltham police station where Stephen Lawrence's clothing had previously been kept.

Clothes belonging to Dobson, Norris and two other men not on trial - Neil and Jamie Acourt - were all stored in the disused cell, which was used as an exhibit store.

Some belonging to a fifth unnamed suspect were also kept there later, the court heard.

Exhibits officer Detective Constable Robert Crane was asked if the suspects' items could have been kept in the same area where Mr Lawrence's clothes had been days before.

He said: "I think not. In any event, every item has gone into that cell sealed."

The prosecution case is that microscopic hair and fibres found on Norris's clothes, and fibres and blood on Dobson's, prove that they took part in the gang attack that killed Mr Lawrence.

Defence counsel claim that the substances got on to the clothes via contamination.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night