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Stephen Lawrence jury hear Chislehurst defendant's case

PUBLISHED: 17:51 23 November 2011

Victim Stephen Lawrence

Victim Stephen Lawrence

Archant

The jury in the trial of stabbed teenager Stephen Lawrence have heard claims police mis-handled evidence and risked contaminating exhibits.

David Norris, 35, formerly of Berryfield Road, Chislehurst and Gary Dobson, 36, of Phineas Pett Road, Eltham, both deny being two of a gang of six white men who attacked the black 18-year-old in an alleged racist assault on April 22, 1993.

The Old Bailey jury have previously heard forensic experts claiming there was less than a billion to one chance that a speck of blood found on the collar of Gary Dobson’s jacket was not Mr Lawrence’s.

But on Tuesday, Timothy Roberts QC, for Dobson, grilled police officers who had gathered evidence from the Lawrence home and from the homes of both defendants.

The jury was told that after Dobson’s clothes had been sealed into police bags at Bromley police station, they were taken back to Eltham.

There they were stored in the same disused cell where Mr Lawrence’s clothes had previously been kept.

Mr Roberts asked exhibits officer Robert Crane: “These Gary Dobson exhibits ... were then placed in the same store where the Stephen Lawrence items had previously been stored?”

Mr Crane replied: “Yes.”

Mr Roberts went on: “And they were handled by people who’d been handling the Stephen Lawrence items, yourself, and they passed across the same areas where the Stephen Lawrence packages and items had passed across?” Mr Crane said: “Yes.”

A cold case review was opened in 2007 after new forensic techniques became available.

The prosecution argue that fibres found on Dobson’s jacket and in exhibit bags proves the accused pair were involved in Mr Lawrence’s murder.

In total there were 16 fibres which could have come from three separate items of clothing worn by Mr Lawrence, found either on the jacket or its evidence bag.

Two hairs were found in a bag used to store a pair of jeans seized from Norris’s home, one of which was 2mm long and was found to match Mr Lawrence’s DNA to a certainty of one in 1,000.

The trial opened at The Old Bailey last Monday. A carefully vetted jury was selected from a possible 49 people, none of whom were allowed to come from Bromley, Bexley, Lewisham or Greenwich. The trial continues.

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