Man who stabbed London teenager Stephen Lawrence to death in racist attack ‘makes a bid for a move to open prison’

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However, the killer’s application was blocked last month by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab over concerns he still poses a risk to the public

18-year-old Stephen was murdered by a gang of thugs in 1993 in Eltham

One of the men who stabbed teenager Stephen Lawrence to death in a racist murder in 1993 has made a bid for a move to an open prison as his minimum term nears its end. However, David Norris’ application was blocked last month by justice secretary Dominic Raab over concerns he still poses a risk to the public.

The 45-year-old was jailed for life with a minimum of 14 years and three months for the murder of 18-year-old Stephen in Eltham, South East London. Stephen was stabbed to death by a gang of thugs shouting “what, n*****?” as he waited for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks. 

Norris is held in category C Dartmoor Prison in Devon but had hoped for a move in preparation for his release. Sources confirmed his application was refused by Mr. Raab without it being referred to the Parole Board for consideration. 

According to a Ministry of Justice insider: “The Justice Secretary is clear that dangerous offenders can’t move before they’ve proved they’re no longer a risk.” Although he will be legally entitled to apply to the Parole Board for release when he completes his minimum sentence in 2024. 

Norris and Gary Dobson, now 46, were the only two of the five suspects held for the murder to be jailed after failings by police. Dobson, jailed for a minimum of 15 years and two months, is in category C HMP Warren Hill in Suffolk, and it is understood he will become eligible to apply for a move to open conditions in the coming months. 

At the time of the murder, Norris was 16 and living with his dad in Chislehurst, Kent. He was later captured in a police surveillance video using extreme racist language to describe how he would kill black people, people of Pakistani origin, and police officers. He said in a clip shown at his trial: “I’d go down Catford [in South East London] and places like that, I am telling you now, with two sub-machine guns.” He talked about torturing a black person and setting them alight, saying: “I’d blow their two arms and legs off and say, ‘Go on, you can swim home now.” 

Sentencing him, the judge was constrained by the law as it was at the time of the attack, a decade before tougher sentencing rules came in. Jailing Dobson and Norris at the Old Bailey in 2012, Mr. Justice Treacy admitted the sentences could be seen as soft but insisted his hands were tied. He told them: “In modern times an adult committing this crime would be facing a life sentence with a starting point for a minimum term of 30 years.” 

Norris suffered a broken nose and ribs at HMP Belmarsh in 2011 where he was being held on remand ahead of his trial. He sued for damages and won a £10,000 payout after the assault. 

Author: Linda .R. Jones

London, UK

lindarj83@gmail.com

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