Socialist Worker

Defendant in Stephen Lawrence murder trial was ‘nervous’ when questioned by police

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2279

Gary Dobson, one of those accused of murdering black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993, appeared “nervous” when questioned by the police a court heard today, Monday.

Dobson was questioned at his parents’ home in Eltham, south east London.

Today Graham Cooke, then a detective constable, told a jury at the Old Bailey that when he questioned Dobson three days after the murder: “In my opinion he was nervous at the time.”

Dobson and David Norris are accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence on 22 April 1993.

Cooke conducted house-to-house inquiries. He asked Dobson whether he had been at the scene of the murder that night.

The retired police officer told the court, “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. He said that he did not know the victim, he had heard about the incident from the papers.”

Cooke saw Dobson and his girlfriend go into a house at 102 Bournbrook Road on 25 April, the same night he questioned him, the court heard.

The jury has already been told that Jamie and Neil Acourt lived at that house.

The jury has also been told that when Dobson was arrested on 7 May 1993 he told police that Jamie and Neil Acourt were among his closest friends, but he denied knowing David Norris.

The jury was shown pictures of Dobson and Norris leaving the Acourts’ home together.

One photograph, taken shortly before 8pm on Monday 26 April 1993, shows the pair standing near a car. Dobson was also photographed leaving the house at a similar time the following evening.

Clothing

At the start of the trial the court heard that Dobson later admitted leaving his home at 11.45pm on the night of the murder to go to the Acourts’ house to borrow a CD and returned 30 minutes later.

The court has been told that the prosecution’s case is based primarily on forensic evidence. Blood and fibres from Stephen were found on clothing belonging to Dobson and Norris following a review of the case in 2007.

The defence, however, says that the likely explanation for this is cross contamination of the items while they were in police custody.

The police officer in charge of exhibits told the court that many of the items seized during the original investigation were kept together in a disused police cell.

Detective Constable Robert Crane said that the items were stored in brown paper bags at Eltham Police station with clothes belonging to Stephen on one side of the cell and items seized from the addresses of Norris and Dobson on the other.

Crane explained that he had not been trained in forensic awareness in 1993 as the course had not been introduced.

He added that he was aware of the dangers of cross contamination of evidence, but when asked what anti-contamination process was used by the police in 1993 he replied: “Just gloves.”

Pressed about the possibility of small fibres or blood flakes being accidentally transferred from one item to another while in the police station, he added, “If it was microscopic, you wouldn’t know it was there. The relevance of it was not explained at the time…the significance was not understood…science has moved on a lot.”

Dobson and Norris deny murder. The trial continues.


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Features
Sat 26 Nov 2011, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2279
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