Guilty verdict for Gary Dobson and David Norris finally allows murdered teenager's mother to begin process of grieving
Doreen and Neville Lawrence had waited 18 years, as long as the length of time Stephen had lived, to witness a jury give their verdicts on some of the men they have believed murdered their son because of the colour of his skin.
The struggle cost them their marriage and at times since 1993, threatened to emotionally overwhelm both parents.
But just before 3pm on Tuesday, the defendants were asked to stand, as was the foreman of the jury. "Guilty" he said when asked about the jury's verdict on Gary Dobson, answering "guilty" a second time when asked for their judgment on David Norris's involvement in the murderous attack on Stephen.
There was no immediate reaction from Mrs Lawrence, and her surviving son Stuart. In fact there was little to suggest they had taken in the jury's verdicts.
But shortly afterwards, Mrs Lawrence began to softly cry, as if her emotions, frozen for 18 years, could finally be allowed to thaw. Sat away from her was Neville Lawrence, who also could not keep back the tears.
On the jury rested so much, not just the guilt or innocence of Dobson and Norris. A guilty verdict, as Doreen Lawrence would later reveal outside court, would finally allow her to begin the process of grieving.
After so much disappointment and heartbreak, Mrs Lawrence was able to leave a court room for the first time since 1993 with some good news. Into the cold gloom and wet of a London winter's day, she was greeted by cheers as she gave her reaction.
As ever with Mrs Lawrence, her statement was a mix of pride in her lost son Stephen, who she misses with a "passion", an insight into her pain, and the pointedly political.
Above the traffic and whirr of camera shutters, her statement was deliberately meant to not let Scotland Yard use the guilty verdict to try and minimise the pain its failings had caused her. She said: "Had the police done their job properly, I would have spent the last 18 years grieving for my son rather than fighting to get his killers to court ... I feel relieved that, to some extent, I can move forward with my life."
Doreen and Neville Lawrence led an 18-year fight against the mightiest institutions in Britain ? the police and criminal justice system, government, and also against bigotry in society. But the most difficult people to bring to account were those youths who had murdered her son.
Outside the Old Bailey, Mrs Lawrence demonstrated that she would not give comfort to a narrative that the verdicts were a success for the police. She thanked the jury, then said: "Despite these verdicts, today is not a cause for celebration.
"How can I celebrate when my son lies buried? When I cannot see him or speak to him? When will I see him grow up and go to university or get married or have children? These verdicts will not bring my son back.
"How can I celebrate when I know that this day could have come 18 years ago if the police who were meant to find my son's killers [had not] failed so miserably to do so. These are not a reason to celebrate."
Mrs Lawrence feels the facts of the case show that the only reason that two people were finally convicted was because of the relentless pressure of her family for 18 years on the police.
She continued: "But mixed with relief is anger ? anger that me and my family were put through 18 years of grief and uncertainty, not knowing if or when we would ever get justice."
Since Scotland Yard was forced to admit its failings in the case, senior officers had vowed to do all they could to bring the killers to justice.
But the Lawrence family were angered by the fact that the poor storage of the clothing of the suspects and Stephen's clothing, gave the defence barristers scope to attack the reliability of the forensic breakthrough that ultimately convicted Dobson and Norris.
Mrs Lawrence said she felt "anger that despite the police saying that this case was so important to them, the exhibits were treated in such a way the defence could suggest contamination".
"This result shows that the police can do their job properly, but only if they want to. I only hope that they have learnt their lesson and don't put any other family through what we have been put through."
She is wary of the police attempts to use guilty verdicts to claim they have atoned for the shame of the first murder investigation: "The fact is that racism and racist attacks are still happening in this country and the police should not use my son's name to say that we can move on."
Mrs Lawrence closed by paying tribute to her murdered son: "Now that we have some sort of justice, I want people to think of Stephen other than [as] a black teenager murdered in a racist attack in south east London in April 1993.
"I know that's the fact but I now want people to remember him as a bright, beautiful young man who any parent of whatever background would have been proud of.
"He was a wonderful son and a shining example of what any parent would want in a child. I miss him with a passion. Hopefully now he can rest in peace."
Next spoke Neville Lawrence, now estranged from his former wife, a separation in part due to the pressures of 18 years of trying to right the injustices Stephen suffered. During the trial, for most of the time, Stephen's parents had sat in different sections of the court, and in one instance, avoided taking the same lift together.
Mr Lawrence, whose statement was read by his solicitor, said: "My life was torn apart by the senseless murder of my son over 18 years ago. Unfortunately no one was brought before a court at that time as they should have been.
"The loss itself, together with the lack of justice, have meant that I have not been able to rest all this time. I'm therefore full of joy and relief that today finally two of my son's killers have been convicted for his murder.
"Something has happened over the last seven weeks ? I have watched justice being done." As for me, I'm not sure where I will go from here. I will let this good news sink in for some time."
Mr Lawrence did thank the police, but while for Mrs Lawrence the verdicts may represent a chance to move on, Stephen's father signalled any solace he feels in menaced by the fact other attackers remain free: "I'm not sure where I will go from here. I will let this good news sink in for some time.
"However I'm also conscious of the fact that there were five or six attackers that night. I do not think I'll be able to rest until they are all brought to justice."
Since Stephen Lawrence was murdered on 22 April 1993, five white men have been named by people in the Eltham area where the murder took place as being involved.
As well as the now convicted Dobson and Norris, the 1999 Macpherson inquiry found the other suspects were the brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, and Luke Knight.