The cost of living crisis has forced many of us to change our spending habits, with people understandably cutting back on non-essential purchases.
But not, it would seem, on E Wing at His Majesty’s Prison Dartmoor, where one of the country’s most reviled killers has recently taken delivery of two prized additions to his wardrobe.
David Norris, 46, who murdered the black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993, is seemingly unaffected by the widespread need to tighten purse strings after acquiring a £150 pair of Emporio Armani EA7 trainers and, from the same brand, a £145 EA7 sweatshirt.
From the outside, the need to wear expensive designer clothes to socialise with inmates in the Category C jail in Princetown, high on Dartmoor in Devon, is perplexing.
David Norris, 46, posted an extraordinary picture of himself wearing Top Gun-style Aviator sunglasses with his TV and Xbox games console in the background in his cell at Dartmoor Prison in Devon
Norris is one of two men convicted of 18-year-old Stephen’s (pictured) murder at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993
But a whistle-blower, who spoke on condition of anonymity as part of a major Daily Mail investigation into the Norris ‘selfie scandal’ and his alleged ‘luxury’ life behind bars, said it all comes down to his ‘status’.
‘Norris has got an air of “I don’t give a f***” about life and spending this amount of money is proof of that,’ said the source, who has seen Norris’s new purchases. ‘In his mind, it is good for his status to wear this gear.’
‘Nozza’, as he is known to fellow inmates, is said to quietly revel in his reputation as one of Britain’s most notorious murderers. He and his racist gang stabbed 18-year-old Stephen to death simply because of the colour of his skin. According to an uncorroborated account relayed to us during our inquiries, Norris has told inmates at Dartmoor that he was the gang member who stabbed Stephen to death. If true, this is a significant revelation, as police remain uncertain who in the killer gang wielded the knife.
A source who witnessed Norris’s alleged confession said: ‘I am not sure whether it was bravado or not, but I was quite shocked by his comments. One day Norris admitted in his cell that he stabbed Stephen. I remember it clearly. He added that he had “never lost a wink of sleep over it”. I have a number of black friends and was really shocked by that comment. I don’t know how someone could take someone’s life and not be phased by it.’
David Norris, 46, recently acquired a £150 pair of Emporio Armani EA7 trainers while in prison
Bravado or not, being able to wear flashy attire ensures Norris remains as the very top of the hierarchy in the inmate population at Dartmoor, which includes dozens of rapists, paedophiles and other sex offenders. In criminal circles, HMP Dartmoor – owned by the Duchy of Cornwall – is nicknamed ‘Monster Mansion’ because of the high percentage of sex offenders (‘nonces’ in prison parlance) there.
Just how the ardent Millwall supporter is able to acquire such costly items will be a question being asked by law enforcement and prison officials today as the Mail exposes his extraordinary lifestyle behind bars.
In 2013, I revealed that ‘hard up’ Norris had received £222,346 in legal aid to defend the murder charge against him the previous year, when he was convicted of killing Stephen and jailed for life with the recommendation that he serve a minimum of 14 years and three months before he could apply to be released on licence.
Today, we have been told, he earns about £18 a week working in the garden at HMP Dartmoor, where he maintains a polythene ‘polytunnel’ greenhouse, with lettuce, courgettes and chillies among the produce grown.
In a foul-mouthed rant on messaging service WhatsApp, the unrepentant murderer – nicknamed ‘Nozza’ by fellow inmates – launched a vile attack on former justice secretary Dominic Raab, who blocked his bid to move to an open prison earlier this year
In an update to his WhatsApp ‘status’, Norris, who can apply for parole in 2024, bragged to friends: ‘I’m coming home in 2 to liven you all up.’
It is one of the best paid and cushiest jobs in the prison – second only to being a gymnasium orderly, which pays about £20 a week – but still a paltry sum when you consider the amount his newly purchased Emporio Armani clothes and accessories cost.
But a more pressing concern for investigators will be how Norris obtained a smartphone to communicate with the outside world and, according to an informed source, go on Facebook, YouTube and possibly dating apps while confined to his carpeted cell each night. Across the country, scores of inmates are said to use dating apps to strike up relationships from their prison cells – or even continue to mastermind their criminal activities.
The ease with which Norris has been able to bypass strict prison rules, which bar inmates from having and using mobile phones, is an indictment of the regime at Dartmoor Prison. Who supplied him with the device? Was it delivered by a visitor, by a drone or thrown over the prison wall? Or, perhaps more likely, given to him by a corrupt member of staff who has been handsomely rewarded?
Police video of their interview with David Norris on September 7, 2010, following the murder of Stephen Lawrence
So cocky has Norris been about his recently acquired device that he has posted pictures of himself in his cell on E Wing, reserved for well-behaved and trusted prisoners, on WhatsApp for his friends and contacts in the outside world to see.
On September 4, he put a picture of himself on his WhatsApp ‘status’ with the caption: ‘I’m coming home in 2 to liven you all up’.
The next day, September 5, he unleashed an extraordinary foul-mouthed rant against the then Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, who earlier this year blocked his bid to be moved to a Category D open prison.
Under a Facebook screenshot of an attractive woman, he wrote on WhatsApp that day: ‘High Court decision in morning about high risk offenders an (sic) parole. Dom Raab your f****d c*** cos the Nozza is defo home in 2 [years] and High Court now agrees. Get that party sorted girls cos I be there soon. Eye Eye the man’s bk in town. F*****g buzzing you c***s !!!!!’
Norris earns about £18 a week working in the garden at HMP Dartmoor. It is one of the best paid and cushiest jobs in the prison – second only to being a gymnasium orderly, which pays about £20 a week
They are not comments which suggest serial thug Norris, whose racist language and hatred of black people was caught on a police surveillance video after Stephen’s murder and appalled his trial in 2011-2012, is a reformed character.
On September 10, just after the Queen died, Norris posted another, very revealing selfie picture of himself in his prison cell.
Staring into his shaving mirror, he is seen wearing Top Gun style ‘Aviator’ sunglasses and a blingy-looking gold watch, and is holding a smartphone (possibly a modestly priced Alcatel) to take the picture of himself. It is a portrait full of arrogance and conceit: a two-fingered salute at the justice system. In the background are his large-screened TV (which is said to have 25 Freeview channels), and his personal Xbox games console. Also in the image are family pictures and prison artwork on the wall. Although not in the picture, Norris also has a CD player/sound system in his cell and access to library books and DVDs.
His fellow inmates in Dartmoor have included the so-called ‘Cornwall Strangler’ Bradley Trengrove, an ‘exceptionally dangerous’ rapist who was previously on D-wing with Norris, and also Hull baby murderer Oliver Longcake. He is close friends with a notorious murderer from the North-West, we are told.
Norris, centre, runs for cover as he and some of the others are pelted with eggs after leaving a Public Inquiry into police handling of the case in London on June 30, 1998
For someone who does not have to worry about food, heating or electricity bills – and has never publicly apologised for murdering Stephen – life could be worse for Norris. His routine involves coming out of his cell at about 8.45am (breakfast cereal is delivered there the night before), after which he goes to the prison garden. He is back for lunch – hot food – at about 12 noon, when he is locked away for about an hour and a roll call takes place. Then he returns to the prison garden until about 4.30-5pm. Dinner at Dartmoor is relatively good – certainly by prison standards, according to sources – with toad in the hole and pizza frequently on the menu. Then he is locked up overnight in his ‘luxury cell’.
Despite his refusal to say sorry to Stephen’s family, Norris has found time to express remorse about the passing of his dog. Last Friday, September 23, Norris was back online again when he paid tribute on WhatsApp to his deceased Staffordshire Bull Terrier, whose picture he posted. He lamented: ‘My loyal, game, butchy boy RIP mushy I’ll forever miss ya boy. we had some turn outs [prison slang for fights] didn’t we me an you, and won em all!! xxx’
He also shared a picture of a pouting young woman with giant sunglasses, believed to be a girlfriend or pen pal, on WhatsApp.
Gary Dobson, now 47, was also jailed for life in 2012 for Stephen’s murder
Norris’s shocking disregard for prison rules – before obtaining a smartphone he is said to have had an easy-to-conceal Xanco miniature phone – is a clear vindication of Mr Raab’s decision in the spring to deny his request to move to an open prison amid fears he still poses a risk to the public.
The unrepentant killer was among five young men arrested over the racist murder of A-level student Stephen, who was stabbed in Eltham, south-east London, on April 22, 1993.
In 1997, the Mail published its widely acclaimed ‘MURDERERS’ front page, accusing the shameless five of being Stephen’s killers – and challenging them to sue us if we were wrong.
In 1997, the Mail published its widely acclaimed ‘MURDERERS’ front page, accusing the shameless five of being Stephen’s killers. In 2012, the Mail published a second front page (pictured) focused on David Norris and Gary Dobson
They never did and the ground-breaking article proved to be a major turning point in the Lawrence family’s campaign for justice, paving the way for a public inquiry, a change in the law and the successful prosecution of two of the original main suspects, Gary Dobson and Norris.
After failures by the police and the criminal justice system initially allowed the killers to escape unpunished, the pair were convicted of murder after a forensic breakthrough in the case following a reinvestigation headed by respected senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll.
The 2011-2012 trial centred around tiny fragments of blood, fibres and hair that were uncovered in a ‘cold case review’. The most important of the discoveries were 16 fibres linked to Stephen’s clothes and three tiny specks of blood.
In the debris from the original evidence bag holding Dobson’s jacket, police found three blood fragments that had less than a one in a billion chance of not being Stephen’s.
Clifford Norris, David Norris’ father was a notorious gangland figure in south London in the 1990s and has been linked to alleged police corruption in the Lawrence case
Officers also re-examined clothing taken from Dobson and Norris, starting a process that eventually led to a guilty verdict for both men at the Old Bailey in January 2012.
Among the other evidence submitted to court was a police surveillance video shot 20 months after Stephen’s murder in which Norris told friends he wants to torture and kill black people. His lawyers tried to have it dismissed, saying it did not prove he was involved in the killing. Norris was heard saying: ‘I’d go down Catford and places like that with two sub-machine guns, and I’d take one of them, skin the black **** alive, torture him, set him alight. I’d blow their two legs off and say: “Go on, you can swim home now”.’
In 2017 Norris – whose father Clifford was a notorious gangland figure in south London in the 1990s and who has been linked to alleged police corruption in the Lawrence case – failed in his four-year bid to clear his name after an exhaustive review of the case. He had asked the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to investigate his case and refer it to the Court of Appeal for a new hearing, but they rejected his legal bid. Dobson, now 47, dropped an appeal against his conviction in 2013.
Norris’s failed legal bid was a major relief for Stephen’s parents Doreen and Neville Lawrence as the 25th anniversary of their son’s racist murder neared.
Only four years ago, Norris settled a claim with the Ministry of Justice after he was attacked in prison. He suffered a broken nose and ribs at HMP Belmarsh in south-east London in 2011 where he was being held on remand ahead of his trial for murder. He sued for damages – reported to be £8,000 – after the assault.
Now Norris is decked out in designer clothes, dressing to impress while online in his cell from 6pm to 8am each night. As a supposedly well-behaved inmate he can watch TV each night, although he is said to have refused to watch a controversial ITV drama series about Stephen’s murder last September.
A source told us: ‘He has been trapped away for ten years and is desperate. But the bottom line is that you can’t have a mobile phone in Dartmoor. It is illegal.’
Norris’s conduct suggests that a ‘Better Man’ self-development course, that he has been attending behind bars according to our sources, has made little or no impact and he now faces the prospect of being moved to a tough, top security prison and having his jail term increased as punishment.
Despite bragging that he is coming out of prison in two years’ time, an informed source says that Norris is fully aware his case is ‘political’ and that the killer believes that Stephen’s campaigning mother may use her influence in the House of Lords to block his release.
What is certain is that Norris will not be a welcome addition to society if and when he leaves prison. Can the Emporio Armani-clad killer ever be freed if he fails to publicly acknowledge his guilt, let alone name the others involved in Britain’s worst race murder?