Judge sends Lawrence jury home

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Jurors in the trial of two men accused of killing Stephen Lawrence in south-east London have been sent home until after the New Year bank holiday after spending a second day considering verdicts.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both from south-east London, deny murdering the black teenager, who was stabbed in a racist attack in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993.

The prosecution is relying on new scientific evidence including a hair and blood spot, but the defence says clothing seized by police was later contaminated by other exhibits.

The trial at the Old Bailey is now in its seventh week.

The court was opened especially this week so that the case could continue between Christmas and New Year.

The jury will resume its deliberations next Tuesday.

Before sending the jury out, Mr Justice Treacy instructed them that they must “reach verdicts on the basis of cool, calm consideration”, and not be swayed by the emotive nature of the case.

The police response to the killing became notorious and led to charges that the force suffered from “institutional racism”.