Thursday 12th April 2012
Neville Lawrence, the father of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, has praised Victim Support's Witness Service for helping him and his family during the court trial at the Old Bailey.
Stephen was murdered in a racially-motivated attack in April 1993, in Eltham, south east London, as he waited for a bus. It took almost two decades to bring his attackers Gary Dobson and David Norris to justice. They were convicted of his murder in January 2012.
Throughout the six-week trial, including time between Christmas and New Year, the service accompanied Mr Lawrence.
Mr Lawrence said: "I first came into contact with Victim Support's Witness Service during the first trial when I was offered their facilities. The volunteers were helpful because they were there just to listen and gave you the chance to get away from all the hustle and bustle of court. They made you feel comfortable and relaxed, preparing you to go into court. I was amazed by the amount of information they had.
"It is a valuable service as far as I am concerned."
A charity spokesman said: "We gave support during Christmas and New Year as the Old Bailey remained open during this period, for the first time, as they thought the jury would come back with a verdict. The verdict actually came back on January 4, 2012. Our staff and volunteers came in to provide support to the family during this period."