Timeline

Crime Files

Timeline

13 September 1974 Stephen Lawrence is born in Greenwich District Hospital, SE London.16 June 1975 Gary Dobson is born, also at Greenwich Hospital.10:30pm 22 April 1993 Stephen Lawrence is murdered in Well Hall Road, Eltham, South East London.23 April 1993 A letter is left in a telephone box naming the suspects. Police surveillance begins on their homes four days later.6 May 1993 The Lawrence family meet Nelson Mandela after publicly complaining at the lack of police progress.7 May 1993 Three suspects are arrested.13 May 1993 Neil Acourt is charged with murder. He denies the charges.23 June 1993 Luke Knight is charged with murder. He denies the charges.29 July 1993 The Crown Prosecution Service drops the case against both murder suspects.September 1994 The Lawrence parents launch private prosecution against Dobson, Knight and Acourt. All three deny the charges.December 1994 Police place a covert camera in Dobson’s flatApril 1996 The Old Bailey judge rules Duwayne Brooks’ evidence inadmissible. The three are acquitted.13 February 1997 The inquest ends with the jury decision that Stephen was unlawfully killed by white youths.14 February 1997 The ‘Daily Mail’ front page states ‘Murderers’ above photos of the five suspects, provocatively taunting them with the strap-line, ‘The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us.’15 February 1997 The police covert recordings of the suspects involved in racist language and using a knife are revealed.31 July 1997 Home Secretary Jack Straw orders a judicial inquiry headed by retired High Court Judge, William MacphersonDecember 1997 The Police Complaints Authority finds conclusive evidence of errors by police detectivesSeptember 1998 Macpherson brands the Met Police institutionally racist.1998 David Norris is acquitted of trying to murder another man.February 1999 The Macpherson report recommends 70 changes to policing. Operation Athena Tower launches. At its peak, 120 officers will be working on the four year operation. One undercover officer even buys a house near to Dobson to help infiltrate the suspects.April 1999 Martin Bashir interviews Dobson for ITV’s ‘Tonight’ show. Dobson presents the five as ‘loveable rogues’ but fails to convince many viewers of their innocence.July 1999 The only detective facing disciplinary charges over the flawed original murder investigation is effectively cleared.October 2000 The Lawrence family accept £320,000 compensation from the police. 14 February 2001?? Neil Acourt , now 27, is convicted of possession of an offensive weapon.11 May 2001 Neil Acourt drives David Norris, now 25, as the latter chucks a drink at an off duty detective and shouts racial abuse. Acourt is said to drive the car at the detective.6 September 2002 Norris and Neil Acourt serve 12 months for racially abusing the off duty detective.2003 Duwayne Brooks publishes his book, ‘Steve and Me’.5 May 2004 The Director of Public Prosecutions rules that after five years re-investigation, there’s insufficient evidence to charge anyone with the murder.April 2005 The 800 year old ‘Double Jeopardy’ law is abolished.2006 Police re-examine forensic exhibits in the case using a company called LGC. The company has previously solved the killings of schoolboy Damilola Taylor and mother Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common.2010 Dobson is filmed by police dropping off £350,000 of cannabis. He pleads guilty and on 9 July, is sentenced to five years.September 2010 Norris is arrested. Both he and Dobson are charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence.April 2011 Norris was never tried but Dobson’s original acquittal is quashed. Both are now ready to stand trial for murder of Stephen.14 November 2011 The trial of Dobson and Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence begins at the Old Bailey.14:39 3 January 2012 After 50 days, Dobson and Norris are found guilty4 January 2012 David Norris, 35, is jailed for a minimum of 14 years and three months Gary Dobson, 36, jailed for 15 years and two months5 January 2012 Scotland Yard denies it’s planning to disband the dedicated team of detectives investigating the Lawrence murder. It’s emerged detectives in the case were given new information during the trial. The Attorney General also begins reviewing whether the sentences can be increased.Neil and Jamie Acourt and Luke Knight maintain they were never involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence."The other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easy in their beds". Scotland Yard Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, 201223 August 2012 Dobson and Norris are refused leave to appeal