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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 17:33 GMT
'My grief at finding Damilola'
Damilola Taylor is captured by CCTV leaving Peckham library
Damilola's last moments were captured by CCTV
The man who cradled Damilola Taylor's limp body as the youngster lay dying, broke down as he recalled the horrific memory at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

Carpenter Guillermo Casale told the murder trial jury there was so much blood, he at first thought children had been playing with tomatoes.

Four teenagers - two 16-year-olds, one 17-year-old and a 14-year-old - deny committing the alleged murder on 27 November, 2000.

They also deny charges of manslaughter and assault with intent to rob.


I rushed over to him and crouched down - there was blood everywhere

Guillermo Casal
Witness
The defendants sat with their legal representatives watching from television screens around the court as the witness relived his grisly find.

Mr Casale, known as Bill, had to pause and regain his composure as he described the moment he had ascended the stairwell of a block of flats in north Peckham, London, and saw a large patch of red.

As he got closer, he realised it was blood and discovered 10-year-old Damilola slumped against the wall.

Composure

The BBC's Andy Tighe said Mr Casale was "clearly upset" remembering what he had seen.

His voice broke as he reached the moment he recalled Damilola's last words.

Tighe said: "Mr Casale broke down and there was a short pause while he regained his composure.

"He said he saw so much blood on his way up the stairs he thought children must have been playing with tomatoes.

"He then saw a larger patch with a footprint in it...then he saw Damilola. His final words were....'I'm OK, I'm OK'."

Carpenter Guillermo (Bill) Casale
Mr Casale: broke down in court

Stopping to catch his breath and wipe his nose with a handkerchief, Mr Casale told the court: "I rushed over to him and crouched down by him. There was blood everywhere."

The boy then collapsed into semi-unconsciousness.

Damilola had managed to climb three flights of steps after suffering a thigh wound caused by a broken beer bottle in Blakes Road, Peckham.

He died an hour later, despite attempts to save him.

Earlier the jury had been shown CCTV footage of the schoolboy's last moments before his death, which showed him skipping along and playing tag with a friend on their way to the local library.

He was wearing the silver padded jacket which the prosecution alleges made him a target for a gang of robbers who killed him.

His mother, Gloria, who sat through all of Monday's graphic opening prosecution statement, left the courtroom shortly after the video began.

Damilola's father Richard and his older brother Tunde, 22, remained, watching from the side of the court.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Reeta Chakrabarti
"One of the boys sliced his leg, as if in imitation of the attack"
The BBC's Stephen Cape
"Witness says there was blood everywhere"
See also:

30 Jan 02 | England
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