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Stephen Lawrence murder: Judge urges Met to hunt ones that got away

By Paul Peachey

An Old Bailey judge piled pressure on the police to atone for their first bungled inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence by demanding they bring more of his killers to justice.

Sentencing two of the murderers yesterday, Mr Justice Treacy urged police not to shut down the murder inquiry and told them to be alert to the possibilities of new scientific advances.

He also urged those “who have been silent so far” to come forward after 19 years.

“The convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris will not, I hope, close the file on this murder,” the judge said. “On the evidence before the court, there are still three or four killers of Stephen Lawrence at large.”

Last night, a spokesman for the Met said police were looking into information they have received in the past 24 hours.

He said: “We can confirm that we have received a number of telephone calls in light of the verdicts and today's sentencing.

“This information will be evaluated.”

Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll, who has been the senior officer in the case for a number of years, told BBC News that officers would be visiting Dobson and Norris in prison to see whether they would be willing to assist the inquiry and said he remained “optimistic” about further progress being made in the case.

He later said there had been five calls from members of the public during the trial.

Mr Driscoll said: “We have had people who have phoned in during the trial and offered their as

sistance and we are looking at that to the best of our abilities.

“People will always phone in when you get this type of case.”

Members of the Lawrence family will meet senior officers in the coming weeks to discuss whether the 23-strong investigation team remains together or is to be run down after two members of the violent racist gang were jailed.

Dobson (36), who is currently serving a jail term for drug dealing, was sent to prison for a minimum of 15 years and two months. Norris (35) was jailed for a minimum of 14 years and three months.

Two of the men named as main suspects in the years after the murder — Neil Acourt and Luke Knight — were both acquitted during a private prosecution brought by the family in 1996. Any new prosecution against them would rely on “new and compelling” evidence being brought to light before Appeal Court judges could consider allowing them to stand trial again for the same crime.

The head of Scotland Yard, Bernard Hogan-Howe, insisted yesterday that “the other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easily in their beds” and said the case was being reviewed.

Police officers will try to visit both men in the coming weeks to see if they will provide further clues as to who was there on the night and who delivered the fatal blow.

Stephen Lawrence's father Neville addressed a crowd of 200 people outside the court yesterday — some chanting “two down, three to go” — and called on the two men to turn in others.

Dobson and Norris, currently being held at Belmarsh top security prison, may be moved to a different prison because of their vulnerability to attack following their sentencing yesterday.

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