Two white British men jailed this year for the notorious racist murder of a black teenager lost the first round of their bid to challenge their convictions on Thursday. Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were given life sentences in January for the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, after they were convicted on the basis of new forensic evidence.
They were part of a gang of white youths who stabbed the 18-year-old to death in an unprovoked attack at a bus stop in Eltham, southeast London, the jury heard.
A Court of Appeal judge rejected their applications for permission to appeal but the pair still have the right to renew their applications before a panel of judges sitting at the court.
Dobson, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was sentenced to at least 15 years and two months in prison while Norris, who was 16, was told he must serve a minimum of 14 years and three months.
Sentencing the pair, Judge Colman Treacy said Lawrence’s murder was a “terrible and evil crime” committed for “no other reason than racial hatred”.
He urged police to continue their search for the other killers in a case he said had “scarred the conscience of the nation”.
The Lawrence case is viewed as a milestone in British race relations. It sparked an overhaul of British policing after a damning report found the original investigation was hampered by “institutional racism”.