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Lawrence case suspect faces jail over drugs

PUBLISHED: 11:10 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:00 25 August 2010

A FORMER suspect in the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence is facing years behind bars after admitting trafficking £350,000 worth of cannabis.

A FORMER suspect in the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence is facing years behind bars after admitting trafficking £350,000 worth of cannabis.

Gary Dobson, 34, of Moultain Hill, Swanley, was one of five people originally arrested on suspicion of killing the black teenager in Eltham in 1993 but was not convicted.

Sixth-form college student Stephen, 18, was knifed to death in a racist attack at a bus stop near his home.

Dobson, Neil Acourt and Luke Knight were acquitted of murder in 1996, after a private prosecution brought by the Lawrence family collapsed at the Old Bailey. The case against two other suspects, Jamie Acourt and David Norris, was dropped before it reached court.

Father-of-one Dobson admitted supplying 49.49 kilos of the herbal drug during a hearing at Kingston Crown Court.

He appeared in custody by video link from Belmarsh prison last Thursday alongside 63-year-old Stephen Fennell, who admitted receiving the drugs from him.

Sandip Patel, prosecuting, said that, although both accused had entered guilty pleas to several charges, there would still have to be a special trial without a jury as their roles are disputed by defence lawyers.

He said: "In particular, it's not so much the quantities but the described role of Mr Fennell.

"It's submitted he was simply a custodian acting on behalf of others. The Crown's case, supported by the evidence, is that his home was being used as a drugs factory, where the cutting and processing of the cocaine, amphetamines and indeed cannabis occurred.

"In addition to that there's also the large quantity of cash."

The deal took place on February 23 this year in a car park in Thurrock, Essex, watched by surveillance police and officers who swooped to arrest the pair.

Fennell also had £286,926.83 in cash - the result of a criminal transaction, it was claimed.

Defending, Graeme Wilson said Dobson may be able to give a plausible explanation for the vehicle's hire.

Dobson admitted supplying cannabis to Fennell and possessing a further 4.91kg of the drug with intent to supply.

Fennell, of Kimpton Close, Potters Bar, Herts, admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply, possessing 320.63g cocaine with intent, possessing 8,718.87g amphetamines with intent and possessing criminal property.

Both men denied conspiracy to supply cannabis and the charge was left to lie on the court file.

Judge Nicholas Price adjourned sentencing until July 9.

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