The pair were handed life sentences at the Old Bailey after being found guilty of the 1993 racist killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Justice Treacey sentenced Dobson and Norris as juveniles, because of their ages at the time they committed the crime and told the court that their jail terms may therefore be lower than the public expects.

The judge called the murder a “terrible and evil crime” and told the court that Lawrence had been without blame.

“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,” Treacey said, according to the Press  Association.

“You were both members of that gang. I have no doubt at all that you fully subscribed to its views and attitudes.”

As Dobson and Norris were sentenced, Scotland Yard commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said “the other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easily in their beds.

Speaking before this morning’s sentencing, he made an appeal to possible witnesses: “Anything you know, please tell us … We can make a difference in this case still.”

Lawrence died after he was attacked and stabbed by a gang of white youths at a bus stop in Eltham, southeast London.

Convictions were finally brought about after a trial based on forensic evidence.