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Lawrence sentences 'worth struggle'

The only witness to the murder of Stephen Lawrence said that seeing his two killers jailed last week was "worth the struggle" of 18 years of blame and acrimony.

Duwayne Brooks, who is now a Liberal Democrat councillor and bidding to become mayor of Lewisham in south-east London, said the wait for justice had been a long and difficult one.

Gary Dobson, 36, who was already serving a five-year sentence for drug-dealing, was sentenced to at least 15 years and two months at the Old Bailey last Wednesday for the murder of 18-year-old Mr Lawrence in Eltham in April 1993.

David Norris, 35, was given a minimum of 14 years and three months for the murder, which the judge said was a "terrible and evil crime".

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Brooks said: "For 18 years, I have endured harassment, victimisation, being blamed for the first prosecution failing, being brutalised and having false charges brought against me.

"To see two members of that gang being convicted - for me it was all worth it.

"We have known the names of those that took part in the attack that killed Stephen Lawrence. Those names have been an open secret for 18 years. To see two of those go down was worth the struggle. It was a partial victory but it was worth the struggle."

Mr Brooks said he believed it would be very difficult for charges to be brought against three or four other members of the gang suspected of taking part in the attack on Mr Lawrence. And he said he did not think the original private prosecution should have taken place when it did because he was "not ready" to take part as the only witness.

He told Today: "I was suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in a serious way.

"I blamed myself and other people blamed me, which was worse. The headlines said the main witness changed his statement. That was never the case but nobody took the time to investigate what was happening with Duwayne Brooks."


From Belfast Telegraph