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Saturday, 27 April, 2002, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Brothers' sorrow for Damilola family
Artist's impression of the brothers in court
The brothers cannot be identified for legal reasons
The two brothers cleared of murdering Damilola Taylor have said they feel sorry for his family.

The teenagers told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that although they were no "angels" they were not capable of killing someone.

"I know I have a heart in me," said one.

The pair spoke of their determination to turn over a new leaf.

And they warned other youngsters that getting involved in petty crime could lead to their being accused of something more serious, as they had been.


I never did it and I wasn't there so sorry

Brother cleared of murder
On Thursday, an Old Bailey jury found the pair - who cannot be named for legal reasons - not guilty of murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to rob.

The brothers' comments come as it was reported that Damilola's parents, Gloria and Richard Taylor, blamed themselves for their son's death and were "ashamed" of British justice.

Damilola bled to death in the stairwell of a block of flats on the North Peckham estate, London, in November 2000.

Sympathy expressed

The brothers, both aged 16, were acquitted of the killing after two other defendants, aged 14 and 17, had previously been cleared on the direction of the judge. All four youths had denied the charges against them.

The brothers said they believed his parents "may never get over the loss of their son".

Damilola caught on CCTV
Damilola's last movements were caught on CCTV
One of the brothers said: "I am very sorry for them. They have lost their son.

"Part of their life has been torn away but my life has been torn away as well."

But both brothers restated that they were innocent of the murder.

"Just because I got cleared it doesn't mean I did it, I never did it and I wasn't there so sorry," he continued.

"I was in there for something I never did so I'm just happy that I'm home. We've been treated like scums and that."

His brother added: "I feel sorry for the boy.

"He only came to get education and that and for his sister to get well and better.

"And I'm sorry for what happened to him."

And they vowed to put the trial behind them.

"No child is an angel.

"I regret what I have done and I wish I had stayed in school.

"Eventually I am going to go to college and put this behind me and get on with my life."

Krays comparison

One denied ever having confessed to the crime, as alleged by the prosecution.

They told of their anger that they were being depicted as notorious brothers or the new Krays.

"I know I have a heart in me," said one.

Richard and Gloria Taylor
Damilola's parents reportedly said their marriage had been affected
The brothers urged other young people embroiled in a life of petty crime to give it up.

In a separate interview, the boys' mother told Today she had been hurt by her representation in some parts of the media as a single mother who could not cope with her sons.

"Deep down in my heart I know that, despite the things they get up to which I can't say is very pleasant, as far as hurting a child, especially 10-year-old child who has only been here a few months, no, I don't believe that for one minute," she said.

Parents' anguish

Meanwhile Damilola's parents now constantly question their decision to bring Damilola from Nigeria to Britain.

They told the Daily Express newspaper that the death of their son and the trial had put a strain on their 25-year marriage.

Former Nigerian civil servant Richard Taylor, 46, is quoted in the Express as saying: "I ask myself over and over again why I wasn't here to protect him.


We blame everyone and especially ourselves. We can't escape it

Richard Taylor in the Express
"The questions we ask ourselves about who might be to blame go on and on."

They blame Nigeria, he said, for not having the necessary medical care their daughter needed so they had to bring her and Damilola to Britain.

And they blamed Britain for being a country where people did not seem to know how to raise children.

Meanwhile Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, has spoken of her sympathy for the Taylors.

"The family had to go through three months of going to court every day and come away with nothing. It must be a nightmare for them," she said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jon Brain
"Words alone will do nothing to ease the pain of people here in Peckham"
Two brothers cleared of murdering Damilola Taylor
"No child is an angel"
Mother of brothers cleared of murder
"Our whole lives have been turned upside down"
Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

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27 Apr 02 | England
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