NEWS
17/11/2011 08:06 GMT | Updated 17/11/2011 08:11 GMT

Stephen Lawrence Murder Trial: Friend Duwayne Brooks Describes Last Moment

The best friend of Stephen Lawrence has broken down as he relived the heartbreaking final moments of the teenager's life.

Other sobs could be heard in the Old Bailey courtroom as Duwayne Brooks, 37, described the confused and fatally wounded Stephen asking him what was wrong.

Mr Brooks, who gave evidence despite his father dying on Wednesday night, said: "He jumps up and for a second I was relieved that 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."

The black 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.

Pausing to close his eyes and place his thumb and finger across the bridge of his nose, Mr Brooks broke down in tears as he gave his evidence.

When prosecutor Mark Ellison QC offered to move through that part of his testimony quickly, he replied: "No, I want to say."

Mr Brooks went on: "He kept saying to me what happened to him, why was he running like that. Look at him, like I must tell him what's happened. Then we were running. I was frightened that ... the other guys would come back round."

The court heard that Mr Lawrence was stabbed and hit with a metal bar by his attackers.

Mr Brooks told the jury: "When I looked back I saw, at that moment in time, 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 the jury a striking motion. "It was something shiny. At the time I was looking it was about this long (motioned his hands about a foot apart)."

He also said he was chased by one of the gang who had a metal bar. "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 Ellison asked: "Did you see whereabouts?" Mr Brooks answered: "It looked like he hit him in his head."

Mr Brooks sobbed as he looked at a picture of the scene and described his best friend's dying words to him. He said: "He said one more time 'Duwayne' and his voice was funny and he fell at that tree."

Mr Lawrence's parents, Doreen and Neville, sat silently at the back of the court listening intently to the evidence. Their son Stuart sat between them and appeared to wipe away a tear with his hand.