‘Stephen asked what was wrong, his blood was streaming out’

Stephen Lawrence’s best friend wept in court as he described the black teenager’s heartbreaking final moments.

The Lawrence family remained composed as Duwayne Brooks gave an emotional account of how the fatally wounded Mr Lawrence asked him what had happened.

The 37-year-old, giving evidence at the Old Bailey yesterday despite his father dying on Wednesday, said: “He jumps up and for a second I was relieved nothing had happened and we ran up the road and we were running, and he kept asking me to tell him what was wrong because he can’t run properly. Blood was streaming out around his neck and through his jacket.”

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The pair, who had known each other since they were 11, were set upon by a gang of white attackers in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993.

Mr Brooks said he saw Mr Lawrence being attacked with a weapon that looked “shiny”. He said: “I don’t know if you could call him the leader, but the guy who had the weapon ran straight into him and, wham, just like that.”

He raised his right arm to show a striking motion. He continued: “When I was being chased he had like a metal bar in his hand, and when I ran back he hit Stephen with the bar. He was getting up and he hit him which made him go back down.”

Mr Brooks sobbed as he looked at a picture of the scene and described his best friend’s dying words.

“He said one more time ‘Duwayne’ and his voice was funny and he fell at that tree,” he told a hushed courtroom.

Mr Lawrence’s parents, Doreen and Neville, sat at the back of the court with son Stuart listening to the evidence.

Mr Brooks said violence broke out after the attackers hurled racist abuse at him and his friend. Asked to describe the group, he said: “At the time all I could say was they were all white, they were about the same age and they were all wearing jeans.”

He said the person who shouted the racist remark at him had worn a grey bomber jacket with white strips on the sides. Mr Brooks said he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after the killing.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both of south London, deny murder.

In cross-examination, Mr Brooks said he remembered extra details months after the attack. He said: “I made a statement some months after when I began to remember other parts of the incident which for some reason I couldn’t remember because it was too distressing, it was too scary to remember and it was very upsetting.”

In his original statement to police on the night of the murder, Mr Brooks had not mentioned the man with the bar, the court heard. The court was read a statement from Conor Taaffe who prayed over Mr Lawrence as his life ebbed away.

He said: “I was holding his head and back, and prayed over him in a whisper and said things like ‘bless him Lord Jesus’.”

Mr Taaffe was on his way home from a church meeting with wife Louise and saw Mr Lawrence and Mr Brooks running along the road. “I noticed Stephen was bending forward from his middle while running. He was holding his upper chest with one of his hands,” the statement read.

The couple continued walking but then heard Mr Lawrence collapse, and saw him lying face down on the pavement. At first Mr Taaffe believed it was a “ploy” or joke: “I had to fight my instinct to see if he was all right.”

When the pair heard a car screech to a halt near the prone teenager, they realised something was wrong and went to help, the jury was told.

Pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd said Mr Lawrence bled to death after arteries were severed by stab wounds to the right and left shoulder.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.