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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Lawrence suspect 'flipped'
David Norris and Neil Acourt
David Norris (left) and Neil Acourt deny all charges
A suspect in the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has said he threw a drinks carton at an off-duty black police officer in a "moment of madness".

David Norris, 25, told Woolwich Crown Court that nine years of persecution led to him "snapping" and throwing a McDonald's drink at Detective Constable Gareth Reid.

The Crown alleges that Mr Norris and co-defendant Neil Acourt, 27, carried out a "racist attack" on Mr Reid in south London in May last year.

Mr Norris denied uttering racist abuse at the officer and also rejected an assertion that he is racist.

'Death threats'

The prosecution claims that Mr Norris, a passenger in a car driven by Mr Acourt, shouted abuse and threw the drink while the car was driven towards Mr Reid.

Mr Norris said: "I have had nine years of persecution and that, and basically I just flipped in a moment of madness."

Asked to recall the incident, Mr Norris said: "He (Mr Reid) was looking at us in a certain tone, with a certain look on his face, like he was not really appreciating us being there.

"As far as I can remember, he kept looking at us and in a moment of madness I threw a cup at him.

"I was just wanting to cause him distress because of the way he was looking at me."

His counsel, David Nathan QC, asked Mr Norris to elaborate on his persecution claim.

The defendant said: "Basically I have had coming up to 10 years of constant pressure from my family, my four children, my mother, father, people threatening to kill us by sending letters to our home."

Both men deny charges of racially aggravated intentional harassment, causing alarm or distress.

The case continues.


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