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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Police still believe Damilola was murdered
DS Shepherd
DS Shepherd said there is no evidence to prosecute anyone else
The murder investigation into the death of Damilola Taylor will remain open despite the acquittal of the final two suspects, the Metropolitan Police has said.

Rejecting the argument that the schoolboy's death was an accident, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bill Griffiths said: "The fact remains, as far as we're concerned, that this was the murder of a 10-year-old boy."

Detective Superintendent Trevor Shepherd, who led the investigation, said there was no evidence to bring a case against anyone else.

But he denied his team of detectives had failed, adding: "We did our job, I believe, as best as we could."

Extending the Met's sympathies to Damilola's family he said: "Not only have they had to endure his murder they've had to sit through a very difficult trial."

Unreliable

Speaking at a news conference after the two 16-year-old brothers were found not guilty Mr Griffiths rejected suggestions that the investigation was a "fiasco".


No less effort was put into this inquiry than we would put into many major terrorist investigations

DS Shepherd
He said police had done their job and the fact the Crown decided to go to court proved there was a case for the brothers, and two boys acquitted earlier, to answer.

Commenting on the verdicts DS Shepherd said: "They are a disappointment to us. We accept the decision of the court and now we must move on from here."

But he added: "We used all resources available and no less effort was put into this inquiry than we would put into many major terrorist investigations."

He said a deep-rooted gang culture on the North Peckham estate, where Damilola died, meant few people were prepared to help solve his death.

'Difficult' witness

Mr Griffiths said police would take on board all the criticisms made by the judge, but said officers could not be held responsible for events in the courtroom.

He also stood by Sergeant Carolyn Crooks, the officer responsible for working with witness Bromley, who claimed she saw the attack which led to Damilola's death.

Although she was the key witness, Bromley's evidence was demolished in court and the judge ruled that it was too unreliable to be considered by a jury.

Mr Griffiths said Sgt Crooks had done a very professional job, working with a witness who had "difficulties".

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 ON THIS STORY
DS Trevor Shepherd of the Metropolitan Police
"It has been a very difficult case"
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bill Griffiths
"I've never come across an injury like the one on Damilola's leg caused by other than a malicious act"
Sergeant Carolyn Crooks
discusses her role working with a witness who claimed she saw the attack which led to Damilola's death
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