David Norris is serving a minimum of 14 years and three months after being jailed for life in 2012 for the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence. He hopes he will be moved to an open prison
Stephen Lawrence killer David Norris has made a bid for a move to an open prison as his minimum term for the racist murder nears its end.
His application was blocked last month by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab over concerns he still poses a risk to the public.
Norris, 45, was jailed for life with a minimum of 14 years and three months for the 1993 murder of Stephen, 18, in Eltham, South East London.
Stephen was stabbed to death by a gang of thugs shouting “what, n*****?” as he waited for a bus with pal Duwayne Brooks.
Norris is held in category C Dartmoor Prison in Devon, but had hoped for a move in preparation for his release.
Sources confirmed his application was refused by Mr Raab without it being referred to the Parole Board for consideration.
CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE/AFP vi)
A Ministry of Justice source said: “The Justice Secretary is clear that dangerous offenders can’t move before they’ve proved they’re no longer a risk.”
He will be legally entitled to apply to the Parole Board for release when he completes his minimum sentence in 2024.
Norris and Gary Dobson, now 46, were the only two of the five suspects held for the murder to be jailed after failings by police.
Dobson, jailed for a minimum 15 years and two months, is in category C HMP Warren Hill in Suffolk, and it is understood he will become eligible to apply for a move to open conditions in the coming months.
At the time of the murder Norris was 16 and living with his dad in Chislehurst, Kent.
He was later captured in a police surveillance video using extreme racist language to describe how he would kill black people, people of Pakistani origin and police officers.
He said in a clip shown at his trial: “I’d go down Catford [in South East London] and places like that, I am telling you now, with two sub-machine guns.”
He talked about torturing a black person and setting them alight, saying: “I’d blow their two arms and legs off and say, ‘Go on, you can swim home now’.”
Sentencing him, the judge was constrained by the law as it was at the time of the attack, a decade before tougher sentencing rules came in.
Jailing Dobson and Norris at the Old Bailey in 2012, Mr Justice Treacy admitted the sentences could be seen as soft but insisted his hands were tied.
He told them: “In modern times an adult committing this crime would be facing a life sentence with a starting point for a minimum term of 30 years.”
Norris suffered a broken nose and ribs at HMP Belmarsh in 2011 where he was being held on remand ahead of his trial. He suffered for damages and won a £10,000 payout after the assault.
What happened to the rest of the gang
Neil Acourt, 46, was the leader of the knife-obsessed gang based on the Brook estate in Eltham, South East London, at the time Stephen was murdered.
He was jailed with Norris in 2002 for swerving his car towards an off-duty black policeman and shouting “n*****” less than a mile from where Stephen died.
He is understood to be back in the area after being jailed for six years over a plot to supply cannabis resin with his brother between January 2014 and February 2016.
Jamie Acourt, 45, had just been excluded from school at the time of the murder after threatening one black pupil with an imitation handgun and beating up another.
He was jailed for nine years in 2018 over the drug plot after two years on the run living in Spain under a false name.
Luke Knight, 45, lived yards from where Stephen was murdered. He was suspected of being involved in the stabbing of Darren Witham with Norris and Jamie in 1992, but never charged. He is understood to be still living in the Eltham area.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.