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EDITIONS
Monday, 4 February, 2002, 13:24 GMT
Girl describes Damilola attack
CCTV footage of Damilola Taylor
Damilola on CCTV shortly before the alleged attack
A 14-year-old girl who is the key prosecution witness in the Damilola Taylor murder trial has told how she saw the 10-year-old being attacked.

Hidden behind a heavy green velvet curtain, the girl told the Old Bailey jury she had been 13 at the time of the alleged attack.

She named three of the youths facing trial for Damilola's murder and said she knew the fourth defendant by sight.


I thought they were just robbing someone

Witness, 14

Damilola bled to death on 27 November 2000, from a thigh wound caused by a broken beer bottle on the south London estate where he lived.

Two brothers aged 16, their 17-year-old friend and a 14-year-old boy deny murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to rob.

The defendants cannot be named for legal reasons.

Bottle 'passed round'

Because of her youth, the girl can be seen only by the judge, jury and those questioning her. The rest of the court is watching her evidence relayed on video monitor.

The court was told she was the only witness to the alleged attack - but she did not see the defendants wielding the broken bottle alleged to have inflicted the fatal wound.

She told the court she was walking home from school when she saw the four youths turning into Blakes Road, Peckham.

Damilola Taylor's parents
Damilola's mother and father were in court

By the time she turned into the road, the youths had surrounded a little boy, she told the court.

She said she was across the road because she did not want the boys to see her.

She added: "I thought they was talking and then they started moving their hand over. I thought they were just robbing someone."

Mark Dennis, prosecuting, alleged that the girl watched as the 17-year-old smashed the green bottle and handed it to one of the brothers.

The 17-year-old and the 14-year-old turned their backs and appeared to act as lookouts.

"They passed the bottle round," she said.

999 call

She told police she was hiding behind a car when Damilola was stabbed in the thigh.

She followed the boys as they ran off and found Damilola had gone by the time she returned.

The court heard that it was almost a month later before she made a 999 call to police to tell them what she had seen.

She was afraid, the jury was told, because one of the accused was a school friend.

She was also concerned she would be thought badly of because she had not helped Damilola, the court heard.

Another month passed before she revealed her identity to police.

The trial continues.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Reeta Chakrabarti
"The screen has been erected at her own request"
See also:

01 Feb 02 | England
31 Jan 02 | England
30 Jan 02 | England
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