Anorak | Stephen Lawrence: it was the Daily Mail wot won it

Stephen Lawrence: it was the Daily Mail wot won it

by | 4th, January 2012

THE Daily Mail is cheering the Stephen Lawrence verdict that saw David Norris and Gary Dobson found guilty of  murder . The front-page headline was predictable, given that the Mail produced the famous “MURDERERS” cover accusing Luke Knight, Jamie Acourt, Neil Acourt, David Norris and Gary Dosbon of murdering Stephen Lawrence.

I was working on Fleet Street at the time. I loved the headline and the story. It was like a injection of energy. The Stephen Lawrence story had made blood boil. I met a barrister who had worked with the Acourts. In his chambers, he described the accused as “the most unpleasant people ever to sat on my chairs”. We all knew. But what could be done?

Doreen Lawrence, Stephen’s mother gives her thoughts :

“When the Mail first published their faces, up until that point nobody – apart from those in their local neighbourhood – really knew what these boys looked like. Then the whole country knew. They were no longer faceless people. That helped and also the part the media coverage played in bringing about the inquiry. If the Mail hadn’t been publicising what was happening around Stephen and getting it out there, a lot of people wouldn’t have known about the injustice around him as a young man.”

Stephen’s father Neville Lawrence:

“I was very pleased, but I admit that at first I was frightened, too, because I realised the implications. If you name people as murderers you have to be pretty sure you have the proof or you’ll be in trouble. But the fact that the Mail – which is a very influential newspaper – went out on a limb for us showed how committed you were to the case. Not a lot of editors would have done that. Not a lot would have chanced it.”

The Mail has every right to be proud of itself. You may wonder why the News of The World never hacked the phones of the accused men. Was it because the paper was too tight with the racist police to do anything?

The first 21 pages of today’s Daily Mail are dedicated to the Stephen Lawrence murder. In it there are traces of what the Mail has become, especially online: a misogynistic celebrity-fed haven where looks define the woman:

David Norris’s mother is a bottle-blonde” .

Ray Dewar, a “henchman of Clifford Norris” is shown sat at a wedding table with his wife, Stella English, “winner of TV’s The Apprentice”.

“To a certain uype of insular, white, South London woman, however, Dobson’s notoriety made him a catch…he swaggered around his Eltham manor with a series of starry-eyed ‘molls'”

Dobson’s has partner named Michelle Lines:

“When the Mail attempted to talk to Miss Lines – whose middle name is Princess – we were warned away… But from entries on her Facebook page (adorned by a glamorous black-and-white photograph taken when she was soemwhat younger and slimmer…)

We are introduced to all the five men’s partners: Claire Vose (Neil Acourt); Terri Dean (Jamie Acourt); Belinda Harmer (Luke Knight): Charley Hunter (Gary Dobson pre Lines); and Deliah Allan (David Norris). The Mail

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Posted: 4th, January 2012 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink