“I would blow their two arms and legs off and say ‘go on, you can swim home now’.”
David Norris, covertly recorded in 1994, on what he’d like to do to black people
On 7 May, 1993, nearly two weeks after the murder, the police finally raid the prime suspects’ homes.
During this period, it’s possible that vital forensic evidence is destroyed.
The reason for the delay is that Detective Superintendent Brian Weeden is ignorant of a ’basic tenet of criminal law’ namely that he could arrest simply on reasonable suspicion. (The Detective later contradicts his own assessment of this at a later inquiry).
When police arrest Dobson, they find a CS gas canister in a drawer beneath his bed.
At the Acourts’ home, police find a knife behind a TV set and under a settee, a sword. But these don’t provide evidence that either brother is involved.
Both Neil and Jamie are taken in for questioning.
Norris isn’t home when the police come. He turns up with his lawyer three days later, and is arrested.
On 3 June, Knight is also arrested.
Dobson lies to the police in the mistaken belief it will keep Norris’s name from them. (That same year, he’s convicted of theft...he’s convicted again for it in 2000)
Dobson’s parents support his alibi that he was at home at the time of the murder. (Gary alleges he did pop out at 11:30pm, but only to see the Acourt brothers, but this was only so he could borrow a Bob Marley CD; an unusual choice of music for a racist.)
Dobson is the only one of the five to provide an alibi.
But only Neil Acourt and Luke Knight are charged.
Neither are convicted.
By September 2010, Norris is now an unmarried father of five, and living in a bedsit, when he is arrested again. (Norris’s first wife has left him because of the unwanted attention, by both the public and press.)
He’s previously been arrested for racially abusing an off duty police officer, along with Neil Acourt, and just months after Norris’s release from jail for this offence, he’s sentenced to 13 months for a pub burglary and handling a stolen Range Rover.
It also transpires that he stood trial for attempted murder in a stabbing committed a month before Stephen was killed. He was found not guilty.
But during his time in jail awaiting trial for Stephen’s murder, he becomes the target of violence.
While on remand in Belmarsh prison, he’s badly beaten several times. During one attack, his nose is broken, he loses a number of teeth and suffers four broken ribs.
Dobson is slightly easier to arrest as on 9 July 2010, as he’s already in prison. He started a five year jail sentence for supplying a Class B drug after being caught during a sting by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
The Court of Appeal decides there’s enough new and substantial evidence to allow Dobson’s acquittal to be quashed.
Dobson and Norris are now both ready to be tried for the murder of Stephen.