Stephen Lawrence trial: Jury sent home until new year

Murder victim Stephen Lawrence
Image caption A-level student Stephen Lawrence was fatally stabbed in south-east London in 1993

The verdict in the Stephen Lawrence murder trial will be reached in the new year after the jury was sent home after its first full day of deliberation.

The jurors were earlier given permission to review video evidence shown during the seven-week trial.

Mr Lawrence, 18, was stabbed in a racist gang attack in Eltham, south-east London in 1993.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, deny murder, and say forensic evidence was contaminated.

The jury will continue deliberating on Tuesday.

Mr Justice Treacy has warned members of the jury to set aside any emotion as they come to their verdict.

The trial began at the Old Bailey on 14 November. The court is normally closed throughout the week after Christmas but has been specially opened during the holiday period for this case.

'Calm consideration'

During his summing-up on Thursday, the judge, Mr Justice Treacy, told the jury of four women and eight men that they must "reach verdicts on the basis of cool, calm consideration" and stressed that they could take as long as necessary to reach a verdict.

He told the jurors that to reach a verdict they must answer the question of whether they could be sure that new forensic evidence relating to textile fibres, blood and hair came from Mr Lawrence.

If so, they have to be sure it was not contaminated and, if that cannot be excluded, they must return a verdict of not guilty.

The judge also said the jury then had to be sure that the defendants took part in the attack on Mr Lawrence and, if so, they intended to kill him or cause serious harm.

Under joint enterprise they can be convicted of murder if they did not inflict the killer blow, but if they knew someone in the group intended to cause serious harm.

More on this story