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EDITIONS
Monday, 4 March, 2002, 20:31 GMT
Brothers 'admitted Damilola killing'
Damilola Taylor
The defendants claim they did not kill Damilola
Two of the boys accused of the murder of Damilola Taylor laughed as they admitted killing him, a court was told on Monday.

Damilola, 10, bled to death from a thigh injury caused by a broken beer bottle on the North Peckham Estate in south London in November 2000.

Two 16-year-old brothers and a 15-year-old boy are on trial for his murder at the Old Bailey in London.


What they said did not have the desired effect to 'big themselves up'

Darren De'ath
Prison officer
Prison officer Darren De'ath told the court the alleged admission came as the brothers took part in an induction session at Feltham Young Offenders institution last year, after they were sent there on remand for unrelated offences.

Mr De'ath said he had asked the group if any of them were expecting long sentences.

He said: "One of the brothers said 'possibly murder' and then laughed.

Brothers questioned

"One of the other boys asked 'Who did you murder?' and the other brother replied 'Damilola Taylor, but we didn't kill him. We just stabbed him in the legs. It was not our fault that he died."'

After ending the session he kept the brothers back and asked them whether they admitted killing Damilola, Mr De'ath said.


They were laughing, they thought it was funny

Gayle Bennett
Prison officer
"Both of them laughed and they said 'Just hypothetically speaking, but we are not telling you any more because you are just interested in the 50,000 reward."'

Damilola Taylor's mother, Gloria, who was in court, dropped her chin and shook her head as Mr De'ath told the court about the brothers' alleged comments.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Courtenay Griffiths QC, Mr De'ath said: "After saying that, what possibly they realised was that they had made a mistake and tried to back-pedal and tried to deny it."

He added: "What they said did not have the desired effect to 'big themselves up' but had an adverse effect."

Officer 'stressed'

Fellow Feltham officer Gayle Bennett said she remembered one of the brothers saying they were on bail for the murder of Damilola.

She said: "The rest of the lads were just chatting amongst themselves but it went quiet. I can remember just staring.

"One of the brothers said 'Yeah, we stabbed him.'

Asked by Mark Dennis, prosecuting, if she thought it was a joke, she replied: "No, because I am a mother and at the time my boy was 10."

'Version of killing'

The brothers and the 15-year-old boy deny murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to rob.

A fourth boy was acquitted last week after the judge ruled the evidence of the key prosecution witness - a 14-year old girl - was unreliable.

Some 150 15-17-year-olds were questioned about the Damilola Taylor murder in Feltham and 40 in Hollesley Bay remand centre, Detective Sergeant Nick Sedgemore told the court.

Defence barristers criticised the police move, suggesting it was inclined to produce rumours from people with something to gain from helping the police.

Later, a 16-year-old Feltham detainee told the court that one of the brothers had given him a version of Damilola's death.

He said Damilola had a mobile phone in his hand when he was approached by the brothers and another youth.

The brother said Damilola was punched by the third youth and one of them had taken the phone and cash from his pockets, the witness told the court.

He then claimed Damilola was stabbed in the leg with a knife by the 17-year-old youth cleared last week of the murder.

The witness said: "It was kind of to teach him a lesson because Damilola ignored them, because he walked away."

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Reeta Chakrabarti
"The defence argued that the boys' comments were designed to make them look tough"
Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

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01 Mar 02 | England
28 Feb 02 | England
27 Feb 02 | England
27 Feb 02 | England
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