Stephen Lawrence was 18 years of age when his life and aspirations were brutally taken from him by a group of teenage racists who couldn't stand the colour of his skin. Yet, it has taken another 18 years to finally see the perpetrators of this callous and horrific killing brought to trial.
Stephen Lawrence's best friend Duwayne Brooks, who was with him at the time of the fatal stabbing and also 18 struggled to overcome his overwhelming emotions while giving evidence to the jury at the Old Bailey.
Duwayne Brooks, now 37, although having to overcome the grief of his recently deceased father told the jury how he saw his friend struck twice by two different weapons in an attack by six white men who had shouted racial abuse at them back in 1993.
Illustrating his fear and anguish, the 37-year-old said the scene in Eltham, south London, had been "distressing" and "scary". The court heard how the black teenager was set upon by a gang of white youths in Well Hall Road, Eltham, and fatally stabbed. Then, the dying A-level student while running away from the angry mob repeatedly cried out to his friend saying: 'Look at me, what's happened to me?' This was in the final moments of his life.
Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both of south London, have
been charged in the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
It is alleged they were among the group that forced Mr Lawrence to the ground at a bus stop, then stabbed him twice. Dobson and Brooks have always denied the murder.
Why has this taken so long to come to trial?
The initial investigation saw five suspects arrested but they were never convicted. The reason? Because in the course of the investigation it was ascertained that the motive for the murder had a racist element, meaning, Stephen Lawrence was killed because he was black. Because of this, the handling of the case by the police and Crown Prosecution Service also saw issues of race clouding those involved judgment, leading to an inquiry.
An inquiry in 1999 headed by Sir William Macpherson examined the original Metropolitan police investigation and concluded that the force was "institutionally racist". The inquiry has been called 'one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain'.
It was because of this report and DNA evidence being made available that one of the original suspects, and another man, are now standing trial for the teenager's murder.
It was said at the time of the teenager's death, during which Graham Cooke, then a detective constable, conducted house-to-house inquiries including asking Dobson whether he had been at the scene of the murder that night that he appeared 'nervous.' Mr Cooke recounted to the jury at the Old Bailey saying: "In my opinion he was nervous at the time."
Gary Dobson, 36, was questioned at his parents' home in Eltham, south-east London, three days after Mr Lawrence was killed.
The retired police officer told the court: "Dobson said no, he was at home all night studying. He arrived home from college at 5.30pm, that his mother and father were indoors at the time. He said that he did not know the victim, he had heard about the incident from the papers."
The jury was also shown police surveillance photographs of Dobson and Norris outside a house in Bournbrook Road in Eltham, and of Norris outside Southwark Police Station in May 1993, when he attended with his mother. Both men had denied knowing each other at the time of the incident.
Witnesses who were at the bus stop on the night of the murder have told the jury that on the night of the 22nd of April, it was all so quiet and quick. One minute Stephen Lawrence and his friend Duwayne Brooks were standing at the bus stop and the next minute they were running for their lives.
The gang of white youths were so close to the fleeing pair of boys that they could not quite get away from their grasp. One witness who was waiting at the bus stop said that he hadn't heard any angry words spoken and that everything was pretty silent apart from several punches thrown and he saw one white lad kicking out at Stephen while he lay on the ground trying to protect himself. But it all took place in a virtual split second, at least only a minute and a half.
But then the cheering came. The group of white youths stood silent for a moment and then walked off quietly like nothing had happened. It was only after the group had dispersed that Stephen Lawrence' condition became apparent.
Gary Dobson, 36, and David
Norris, 35, both of south
London, have been charged
in the murder of Stephen
The prosecution told the jury
it will present the above as
new forensic evidence.
The trial continues.