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Two Jailed In Britain For Death Of Black Teenager

A combo photo shows Gary Dobson (top right) and David Norris, the two men accused of murdering teenager Stephen Lawrence (left) in 1993.
A British judge has sentenced two men to life in prison for the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in a landmark case that exposed racism in London's Metropolitan Police.

Lawrence was stabbed to death in April 1993 at a London bus stop in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths who chanted racist abuse.

Judge Colman Treacy ruled that Gary Dobson and David Norris, who were both under 18 at the time, will serve a minimum of 15 and 14 years in jail as part of their life sentences.

The judge added that the sentences were lower than some would expect as he could not apply tougher sentencing rules drafted in 2003. Sentencing laws at the time of the crime in 1993 didn't properly account for racially aggravating circumstances.

Dobson, now 36, and Norris, 35, were found guilty on January 3 after a six-week trial that hinged on new forensic evidence.

They will only be released if parole authorities decide they have been rehabilitated.

Police arrested the two men in the months after the killing but prosecutors dropped the case, saying evidence was unreliable. A private case filed by the Lawrence family also failed.

A later public inquiry into the case led to London's Metropolitan Police being branded institutionally racist.

compiled from Reuters reports