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Stephen Lawrence ‘attacked because of his skin colour’

TARGETED: Stephen Lawrence was "swallowed up" by a gang of five white youths, say prosecution

AFTER SITTING through a murder trial, a private prosecution, an inquest and a public inquiry, hearing details of Stephen Lawrence's last moments still proved too much for his father as a new trial got underway.

Neville Lawrence had to leave the courtroom as Mark Ellison QC, prosecuting, told jurors how the 18-year-old was "swallowed up" by a gang of five white youths who were chasing him on the night that he died 18 years ago. Stephen’s mother, Doreen, sat with her head in her hands throughout the opening.

The teenager and his friend, Duwayne Brooks, had been searching for a bus stop at around 10.35pm on April 22, 1993, in Eltham, south London.

“There was a group of about five white men,” said Ellison.

He added: "One of the group was heard by Duwayne Brooks to say, 'what, what, ni**er?' and at the same time the white group began to rush towards them."

It was a "completely unprovoked attack", the court heard.

Brooks shouted at Stephen to make a run for it, but Stephen was unable to keep up with him and fell behind.

Ellison said: "The group quickly surrounded him. He was swallowed up by the weight of the numbers and forced to the ground. There was some hand and leg movement, the eyewitness said."

The pack fled, leaving Lawrence collapsed on the ground with wounds to his upper torso and shoulder.

Despite being "mortally wounded", Lawrence tried to catch up with his friend, leaving his black rucksack at the scene of the attack.

"He couldn't, however, keep up and he collapsed on the pavement,” Ellison added.


UNITED: Artist's sketch of Doreen and Neville Lawrence in court

Brooks used a nearby telephone box to call emergency services at around 10.43pm, but was unaware of their exact location.

He flagged down a passer-by and an off-duty police officer and his wife stopped to assist them.

The officer was able to give the emergency services a more detailed account of their whereabouts.

Ellison added: "They tried to make him as comfortable as they could, a rug was put on him.

"An ambulance arrived at 10.54pm, but by then he was showing no signs of life."

He was raced to hospital, but was pronounced dead. A post-mortem gave cause of death as loss of blood because of the severing of an artery.

Addressing the jurors, Ellison said it was up to them to decide if the defendants, Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were part of the group that attacked and killed Stephen Lawrence. They both deny murder.

Ellison said he planned to prove how new scientific evidence, uncovered in a cold case review that began in 2007, linked the defendants to the crime.

He also added that the jury did not have to be convinced that either of the two men, aged 17 and 18 at the time of Stephen's murder, inflicted the fatal wound, but that they were involved and shared the same mindset.

Ellison said “the only discernible reason for the attack was the colour of his skin" and that the gang was made up of "like-minded young white men who acted together as one on seeing two young black men."

The trial continues.

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