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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 19:02 GMT
Damilola died 'in joke that went wrong'
Damilola Taylor
Damilola Taylor bled to death in a stairwell
A boy confessed to killing Damilola Taylor during "a joke that went wrong", the Old Bailey has been told.

A 16-year-old robber who met the boy in a secure unit said the confession was made during a playground game.

He said: "We were playing tin soldiers, a playground ball game.


It was a joke that went wrong

Accused's alleged comments
"I told him 'I know what you are here for, you're supposed to have killed Damilola Taylor'."

He claimed the youth, the youngest of three accused of murder, told him: "I weren't supposed to have done it, I done it - I was there."

Asked why, the youth replied: "It was a joke that went wrong."

The 15-year-old and two brothers aged 16, all from south London, deny murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to rob.

'Video evidence'

Damilola died in November 2000 from a thigh wound caused by a broken bottle on the North Peckham Estate, south London.

The witness said that following the playground ballgame session in a London secure unit, the boy was again confronted in a lounge area.

He said the accused told him: "I am not going to get done for it. There is video evidence to show I was not there."

The witness said he had come forward last month after seeing reports of the trial and evidence given by a 14-year-old girl witness on television.

Criminal history admitted

Cross-examined by John Ryder QC, the witness denied offering to give evidence because he was an attention seeker.

He admitted being accused of staging an incident in which he said he had been taken hostage in the young offenders' prison where he is held, in order to go to the hospital wing.

The youth also admitted a long history of burglary, robbery involving knives and drug taking.

His offences included robbing a 10-year-old and his older brother at knifepoint.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

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See also:

15 Mar 02 | England
11 Mar 02 | England
07 Mar 02 | England
06 Mar 02 | England
05 Mar 02 | England
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