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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Damilola death 'an accident' - surgeon
Damilola Taylor on CCTV film
CCTV film captured Damilola's last movements
Damilola Taylor's fatal wound was caused by an accidental fall, not a stabbing, a leading surgeon has told the Old Bailey.

Alistair Wilson, a trauma expert at the Royal London Hospital casualty department, said Damilola's leg wound was consistent with falling on a broken bottle.

He said the injury was common but very rarely fatal, although the loss of blood may have increased by the schoolboy climbing stairs.

The 10-year-old bled to death in a stairwell on a south London estate in November 2000.

One sees wounds like this frequently and they are always accidental

Alistair Wilson
Royal London Hospital

Defence lawyers for two brothers accused of stabbing Damilola have suggested he may have died after playing with a shard of glass.

But the prosecution alleges Damilola was surrounded and stabbed with a broken bottle by two brothers in Blakes Road.

Mr Wilson said: "I believe that the injury was not caused by a knife but by glass as a result of falling on part of a bottle.

"It is unlikely to be caused by a person using the bottle as a stabbing implement."

'Different clothes'

He said Damilola's injury had been complicated by an artery being severed and veins cut.

And what may have started as a gentle flow of blood became much worse when Damilola started climbing the stairs, he suggested.

He added: "One sees wounds like this frequently and they are always accidental.

"Unless the whole wide world is telling me lies, I would have to think it is an accident."
Damilola Taylor
Was Damilola the boy seen smashing a bottle?

But consultant forensic pathologist Dr Vesna Djurovic, called by the prosecution, contradicted Mr Wilson and said the injury was more likely to be caused by intent.

Earlier, the court heard from two witnesses who saw a boy cut himself playing with glass at the time of Damilola Taylor's death.

Anthony Borg, 18, and Melissa Haughton, 19, were walking along Blakes Road on the North Peckham Estate at the time of the alleged incident.

Jacket produced

They said they saw a boy cut himself when playing with a broken bottle and then run to and area close to where Damilola was found bleeding to death.

But the boy they saw was not wearing the same clothes as the 10-year-old schoolboy.
Gloria Taylor (left) at Damilola's funeral
Mrs Taylor (left) was tearful

Damilola Taylor's mother broke down in tears when a jacket identical to the one worn by her dying son was produced in court by prosecutor Mark Dennis.

Mr Borg said he did not recognise the jacket and Mr Dennis asked him: "The boy you were saying you saw was plainly not Damilola but another boy?"

Mr Borg answered: "It may have been. I am not too sure it was him or not."

But he agreed his doubts may have been caused by the "passage of time".

Charges denied

In his police statement, he said the boy playing with the glass had darker clothes and darker skin.

Miss Haughton told the court the boy had worn dark clothing and in her police statement, she said she did not think the boy they saw was Damilola.

Two 16-year-old brothers deny murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to rob following 10-year-old Damilola's death on 27 November 2000.

Two defendants have already been cleared after the judge directed the jury to find them not guilty.

The hearing was adjourned until Friday.

Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

BACKGROUND

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03 Apr 02 | England
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