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MoJ admits 'unspecified' payout sum to Stephen Lawrence killer

David Norris gets damages for prison assault while on murder remand

The Ministry of Justice has made a reported £8,000 compensation payout to Stephen Lawrence killer David Norris after he was attacked in prison.

Norris claimed not enough was done to protect him after he suffered a broken nose and ribs at HMP Belmarsh in 2011 where he was being held on remand ahead of his trial for murder.

He sued for damages after the assault.

Norris and another man, Gary Dobson, were found guilty of stabbing the 18-year-old to death in a racially-motivated attack in April 1993. The pair were handed life sentences in 2012.

The payouts are thought to be less than the maximum £11,000 given by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to the families of those killed in recent terror incidents.

The MoJ declined to be drawn on how much public money it has paid the killer or what the total bill, including legal aid costs, could reach.

But a MOJ spokesman told Police Oracle: "We robustly defend all claims and are successful in two-thirds of cases brought against us by prisoners."

During Norris's murder trial, defence lawyer Stephen Batten said the prisoner had been attacked several times while on remand in jail.

He told jurors at the Old Bailey that on one occasion his client's nose was broken, teeth were knocked out, and four ribs were broken.

Norris claimed three inmates, including murderer Leon Fyle, 28, attacked him with a knife and a sock filled with tins.

In 2017/18, a total of 4,957 offenders received ‘special payments’ from HM Prison and Probation Service amounting to more than £10 million, topping the previous year’s total of £8.7 million..

The figures were contained in the HMPPS annual report – with the vast majority of the payments being settled as compensation to prisoners and other offenders.

The news comes as a former suspect in the 1993 Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry has appeared in court on a charge of conspiracy to supply class B drugs, specifically cannabis.

Jamie Acourt, arrested in Barcelona in May following a joint operation between the Metropolitan Police Service’s Serious and Organised Crime Command, the National Crime Agency and Spanish police, was extradited from Spain and arrived back in the UK last month.

The 42-year-old, who always denied involvement with the killing of teenager Stephen, appeared at Kingston crown court earlier this month. In October 2016, Mr Acourt was named as one of ten British fugitives on the joint UK-Spanish Operation Captura, targeting the NCA’s ‘most wanted’ on the Iberian peninsula.