Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty this afternoon at the end of a trial brought about by advances in DNA testing. A tiny spot of blood on Dobson's jacket and hairs from the evidence bag which held Norris's jeans were sent for testing in the US, and proved a match for Lawrence. The accused's lawyers had claimed the police were at fault for permitting cross-contamination of evidence, but forensic experts couldn't replicate the blood evidence using dried blood. Nor were any expert witnesses called to back up claims of cross-contamination.
Jury members were shown a covert video of the pair talking in racist and violent terms. The crime has long been considered a racist murder. Failures in the original police investigation led to the McPherson report, which found the Metropolitan police to be "institutionally racist" and made 70 recommendations for ousting racism from society.
Dobson and Norris were part of the original five suspects in the case — the others being Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt and Luke Knight — none of whom were initially charged by the CPS, and who were also the subject of a private prosecution by the Lawrence family (charges against Norris and Jamie Acourt were discharged before the trial began on grounds of insufficient evidence). The remaining three were found not guilty. However, all five were named by the Daily Mail in 1997 in an infamous front page, naming them as Lawrence's murderers. To date, none have sued the paper. During the current investigation, no evidence was found to link the Acourt brothers or Luke Knight to the murder.