It took nearly 19 years of constant campaigning, two failed prosecutions, and tens of millions of pounds to convict just two of Stephen Lawrence killers.

It took nearly 19 years of constant campaigning, two failed prosecutions, and tens of millions of pounds to convict just two of Stephen Lawrence killers.

What will it take to jail the rest?


“It was great having a big brother. No-one messed with me. Stephen was tall and cool and had lots of friends.”
Stuart Lawrence, younger brother of Stephen

In April 1993, Stephen was an 18 year old, ready to start training for his dream job as an architect. He’d done work experience and was promised a job if he passed his A-levels. He was doing these at Blackheath Bluecoat School and knew through football, fellow pupil, and now famous Manchester United and England soccer star, Rio Ferdinand.
Stephen was a popular and promising student and an above average athlete and teachers chose him to show new pupils around. In his mid teens, he had a little work wobble but soon returned to studying hard.
He earned money by designing and selling T-shirts and was a part time worker at McDonalds.
He occasionally argued with his younger brother, most recently when the latter had out of curiosity dismantled Stephen’s walkman to see how it worked. But he always forgave him in the end.

Stephen’s father was born in Jamaica. It was Neville that gave Stephen the dream of being an architect. Neville had been too poor to pursue such a profession and instead, had become an upholsterer. Neville hoped that what was denied to him, would be possible for Stephen.
But his marriage to Doreen doesn’t survive Stephen’s death. They have been happily married for nearly 30 years when they’re informed in a hospital that their son is dead.

Neville says they never touched from that moment on.

Neville and Doreen emigrate separately from Jamaica in the 60s, but soon meet up in London and when they start a family in the 70s, she makes sure they are all regular attendees at their local Methodist Church.
She was doubly determined when it came to bringing to justice those who had destroyed her family. Many believe that without her, it’s unlikely anyone would ever have been convicted.

Gary is born to Pauline and Stephen Dobson in June 1975, in the same maternity ward as Stephen. The Dobson family will later be described as a ‘loving’ and ‘respectable, white, working-class family’. Like Stephen, Gary is a first born son.
By his mid teens, Gary is a good looking, confident young ‘lady’s’ man. At college, he meets the Acourt brothers. Like them, he lives on the Brook estate, ‘a virtual no-go area for non-whites’.
Gary is 17, and still living with his parents, when the police come to arrest him.

David’s father is a drug smuggler, and in 1993, is on the run. But even absent, his influence means few cross his son’s path.
David lives with his mother, but he’s the only one of the group who doesn’t live in or around the Brook Estate. He’s meets them, aged 14, after playing football with Jamie Acourt.
David and Gary Dobson form part of a violent gang that intimidates locals, often with knives.
He’s 16, and has left school, but is still living with his mother at the time of the murder.

Born in 1975, he was in the same year as Gary Dobson at college. In 2001, he is convicted of possessing an offensive weapon. In 2002, he and Norris are jailed for 18 months for a racist attack on off-duty detective.
He has always denied any involvement in the killing.

Jamie was born in 1976, in Southwark, South London. He’s in the year below his brother Neil, but is expelled at 14 for fighting.
He has always denied any involvement in the killing.

Luke was born in 1976, also in Southwark, South London. He went to school with Jamie, but left a few weeks before the murder.
He has always denied any involvement in the killing.

Duwayne was the friend with Stephen the night he was murdered. They met when they were 11 at their first day at Blackheath Bluecoat School. They remained best friends even when Duwayne went to study engineering at another college, and they would still meet up at lunchtime and after school. He did so on the day Stephen was killed.
After the murder, Duwayne suffered from post traumatic stress, preventing him from identifying the killers. A few days after the murder, he was arrested for his involvement in a scuffle during a race march on the British National Party headquarters.
His insistence that the motive for the murder was racism leads to repeated harassment and violent arrests. (At that time, the police were more likely to believe that the stabbing was a result of a black kid being discovered during a burglary.)
In 2006, the Metropolitan Police paid him £100,000 in compensation after reviewing how officers handled his complaints following the murder.
In 2009, he won a seat as a Liberal Democrat councillor in Lewisham.