Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

'Contamination risk' over Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence died after being attacked in 1993

Police officers who visited Stephen Lawrence's home searched the homes of the men suspected of his murder days later creating a risk of forensic contamination, a jury has heard.

DC Linda Holden and DS John Bevan made a series of visits to the bereaved family in Woolwich, south-east London, in the days following Mr Lawrence's death in April 1993, before the searches were carried out.

Prosecutors claim that microscopic fibres found on clothes belonging to Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both of south London, prove that they took part in the gang attack that killed Mr Lawrence. The pair deny murder.

But defence counsel for the pair claim that fibres, blood and hair linked to Mr Lawrence were transferred on to the clothes of defendants by contamination.

Jurors were told that Mr Bevan last visited the Lawrences on May 4, before he took part in a search of Norris's parents' house in Chislehurst, south-east London, on May 7.

He admitted that he may have worn the same "outer garments" on those two days, but insisted he had never sat down in the Lawrence family home.

Mr Bevan said: "I don't recall sitting at all. I can remember some of these visits, they were difficult and I've never lost sight of the fact that they must have been incredibly difficult for the Lawrence family but they were difficult meetings and I can physically remember how some of them went and I do not remember sitting down at any of them."

But Stephen Batten QC, for Norris, dismissed his claim that he had never sat down in the house as "simply implausible".

DC Dennis Chase, who took part in the same search, told the court that he was "not aware" that Norris had two brothers when he searched the gated property.

The defence claims that clothes seized at the house did not belong to Norris.

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