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Stephen Lawrence killers' jail terms not unduly lenient, rules attorney general

PUBLISHED February 1, 2012

Dominic Grieve QC declines to refer sentences handed to Gary Dobson and David Norris to court of appeal

The prison sentences given to the murderers of Stephen Lawrence were not unduly lenient, the attorney general has ruled.

Dominic Grieve QC declined to refer the 15- and 14-year terms given to Gary Dobson and David Norris for the racist killing case to the court of appeal. "This was a despicable and appalling crime," Grieve said in a statement. "Justice was long delayed and I can fully understand why some people are unhappy that the minimum terms handed down were not longer.

"However, having considered the sentences carefully, I have come to the conclusion the minimum terms are within the appropriate range of sentences, bearing in mind the offenders' ages at the time of the crime, and therefore I have decided not to refer them to the court of appeal. It is perhaps worth emphasising that the terms are the minimum periods that will actually be served. Dobson and Norris will not be released unless and until the parole board considers they do not pose a risk."

Lawrence's mother, Doreen, is understood to have realised that the sentencing judge's hands were tied and the decision was not a surprise.

Earlier this week it was revealed that both men are seeking to challenge their convictions after being sentenced to life at the Old Bailey last month. Dobson, 36, has to serve at least 15 years and two months before he becomes eligible to apply for parole. Norris, 35, was given a minimum of 14 years and three months for the 1993 murder, which the trial judge, Mr Justice Treacy, said was a "terrible and evil crime". © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds