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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 16:26 GMT
Damilola witness denies lying
Floral tributes laid at place where Damilola died
Damilola was discovered in a stairwell
The key prosecution witness in the Damilola Taylor murder trial has denied fabricating her account of the incident after reading newspaper reports.

The teenager alleges she witnessed ten-year-old Damilola's murder on the North Peckham estate in London in November 2000 and has identified the defendants.

But the Old Bailey murder trial has heard claims the 14-year-old was motivated purely by a 50,000 newspaper reward when she came forward with information a month after the alleged killing.

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

George Carter-Stephenson QC, defending one of the boys, accused the girl of lying, saying the account of the incident she gave police had on several occasions been very similar to newspaper reports.

Damilola Taylor
Damilola bled to death from a thigh wound
For example, he said, one newspaper report described Damilola's blood "flowing like a water fountain".

The court heard that the girl had initially used a similar phrase in police interviews but this was later withdrawn.

The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, hit back at suggestions she had been forced to read newspaper reports because she had not actually been at the scene of the crime.

"I know what happened on that day," she said, "they [the accused] know what happened on that day."

On Monday the court was told how the girl and her mother ran up a hotel bill of 4,000 while under a police-funded witness protection scheme.

Members of the jury were also told of the girl's poor academic record with "emotional and behavioural difficulties".

Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

BACKGROUND

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See also:

07 Feb 02 | England
06 Feb 02 | England
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