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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 August, 2003, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Damilola witness speaks out
Damilola Taylor
Damilola bled to death in a stairwell
The main prosecution witness in the Damilola Taylor trial has told the BBC the case ruined her life.

Witness Bromley, as she was called during the trial, has given her first interview since telling last year's trial she saw Damilola's murder by a gang of youths.

Bromley still has police protection and lives in a house fortified with locks, alarms and a guard dog, miles away from her family and friends.

Since she was taken into protection, Bromley has moved home 39 times and not been to school.

Her mother told BBC News they still feared retribution.

Bromley added she had no prospect of a normal life or job, but hoped speaking out would help make things different for young people who find themselves in a similar position in the future.

I have to stay in all the time, can't go to school, can't get education, when I'm older I can't get a job, what's good about that?
Natasha

She told BBC's Radio 4 programme It's My Story: "I've got to live with people thinking I'm a liar for the rest of my life."

Aged 12 at the time, her evidence and her performance in the witness box were highly controversial and all four defendants were acquitted.

The judge, Mr Justice Hooper, condemned her evidence as unreliable, but she stands by her story of what happened to the 10-year-old boy and insists she did not lie.

"I'm not that stupid, you know, I wouldn't go and do that," she said.

Damilola, whose parents brought him to London from Nigeria to give him a better start in life, bled to death in the stairwell of a block of flats on a council estate in Peckham, south London in November 2000.

The schoolboy was stabbed in the leg with a broken bottle on his way home from a computer club in his local library.

No fee

Bromley denied she had only been interested in the 50,000 reward offered by a newspaper.

She was discredited after videotapes of her gloating about the reward she would earn from her story were shown to the court.

But she told the BBC: "They're all jokes, I was a little girl.

"They can't expect me to be mature on the tapes can they? And God's honest truth, before I went into that trial I didn't know about that money."

She told her story to the BBC for no fee and has turned down an offer of 50,000 to talk to a tabloid newspaper.

Bromley's eyewitness evidence was critical in the prosecution case against the four youths accused of murdering Damilola Taylor.

But during the trial last year, she became angry during cross examination, swore and at one stage walked out of court.

Defence barrister Courtenay Griffiths
Bromley accuses Griffiths of bullying her in court

She told the BBC she ought to have slapped the defence barrister Courtenay Griffiths, who cross examined her very intensively.

She accused him of being rude and trying to "twist her head" so she would come out with the wrong answers.

"It was very hard and upsetting, I was only a little girl," she said.

Bromley had appealed to Mr Justice Hooper to intervene, but told the BBC, judges only understood girls who went "to Sunday school".

She said her life had been ruined by the case.

"I have to stay in all the time, can't go to school, can't get education, when I'm older I can't get a job, what's good about that? Nothing, I'm just going to be another bum in the world."

The interview has raised the possibility police could bring a fresh prosecution in the case, which has never been closed.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said they would be liaising with the BBC and would consult the Director of Public Prosecutions about the case if proposals in the Criminal Justice Bill to allow defendants acquitted of a crime to be tried a second time became law.

  • It's My Story is on Radio 4, Thursday 7 August, at 2000 BST




SEE ALSO:
Criminal justice under scrutiny
09 Dec 02 |  UK News
At a glance: Damilola CPS report
09 Dec 02 |  UK News


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