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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 18:51 GMT
Climbie killer says sorry
Carl Manning
Manning: "My actions are totally unacceptable"
One of the killers of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie has apologised for the "pain and suffering" he caused her.

Carl Manning was giving evidence in a pre-recorded video interview to the inquiry into the child's death.

He described the months of torture she was put through by him and his girlfriend Marie Therese Kouao as "sickening".

Victoria's parents, Francis and Berthe, sat motionless as the three hours of testimony was played on large TV screens.

They watched as, manacled to a prison guard throughout the interview, Manning told the inquiry: "I cannot account for my behaviour and my actions, but the least I can do is apologise and say how sorry I am to the family of Victoria Climbie, her mum and dad and her brothers and sisters back in the Ivory Coast."


There is no reason for anyone being kept in those conditions at all

Carl Manning

Manning, 29, and Kouao, 44, were jailed for life for her murder last year.

The inquiry in south London set a precedent earlier this month by calling Kouao - Victoria's great-aunt - to give evidence in person.

Her appearance on 8 January made her the first convicted killer to appear before a public inquiry.

Starved and beaten

Manning was allowed to give his account of events by video from Wakefield High Security Prison because it was felt he had been more helpful to police with the initial investigation.

He told the inquiry: "My behaviour and actions are totally unacceptable. I just have to accept my wrongs and my actions, and all that has happened was unnecessary."

He was asked by inquiry chairman Lord Laming what went wrong when Victoria and Kouao went to live with him in July 1999.

He said: "The whole situation is pretty sickening and it is unnecessary and it should not have happened.

"Sadly it did and you know there is no underlying reasoning for it.

Victoria Climbie
Victoria had 128 injuries on her body when she died

"There is no reason for anyone being kept in those conditions at all.

"I cannot even come to terms with how I reacted in the situation, how I let those things happen?"

Victoria was starved, beaten, trussed-up in a bin-bag and left in a freezing bathroom while she lived with Manning and Kouao in a squalid studio flat in Tottenham, north London.

She had 128 injuries on her body when she died.

The child protection system missed at least 12 chances to save her life.

When asked by Lord Laming whether the social workers, police and NHS staff, involved in the case, should have done more to save Victoria's life, Manning said that he, alone, should take the blame.

"Personally I do not hold them (the agencies) responsible.

"There is things I should not have been doing. I should not have let it go on that long.

"I shouldn't have contributed to such a bad environment and put someone through such pain and suffering."


Key stories

Background

THE TRIAL

TALKING POINT
See also:

03 Dec 01 | England
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