A judge sentenced Gary Dobson and David Norris to life in prison on Wednesday for the 1993 murder of 18-year-old black teenager Stephen Lawrence, a landmark case that exposed what an inquiry called "institutional racism" in the Metropolitan police.
Judge Colman Treacy ruled that Dobson should serve a minimum 15 years and two months and Norris 14 years and three months.
"This was a terrible and evil crime," he told a packed courtroom at the Old Bailey. "This crime was committed for no other reason than racial hatred. "A totally innocent 18-year-old youth on the threshold of a promising life was brutally cut down in the street in front of eye witnesses by a racist, thuggish gang," he said.
"You were both members of that gang. I have no doubt at all that you fully subscribed to its views and attitudes."
The sentences reflect the fact that Dobson and Norris were under 18 when Lawrence was murdered in southeast London nearly 19 years ago. Dobson, now 36, and Norris, 35, were found guilty on Tuesday after a six-week trial that hinged on new scientific evidence presented by prosecutors.
Lawrence was stabbed to death at a southeast London bus stop in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths. The trial had heard that at least three more people had been in the gang, all of whom are still at large.
"The other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easily in their beds," Metropolitan police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told reporters shortly before sentencing. "We are still investigating this case. "We are actively reviewing the consequences of (conviction)yesterday ... and what opportunities that might give us for the future."