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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
New Damilola trial is considered
Damilola Taylor
Damilola Taylor died from a leg wound on a stairwell in Peckham
A third Damilola Taylor trial is being considered after two brothers were acquitted of murdering the 10-year-old.

The pair, aged 17 and 18, were also cleared of assaulting the schoolboy who bled to death from a leg wound in Peckham, south London, in 2000.

Jurors were discharged after failing to reach verdicts on manslaughter charges.

Police are understood to be meeting the Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald QC on Wednesday to decide on a retrial on the manslaughter charges.

On Monday, a third defendant Hassan Jihad, 20, from Peckham, was cleared of any involvement in Damilola's death.

It is the second trial Damilola's parents, Gloria and Richard, have sat through and they were said to be "deeply distressed and profoundly disappointed" after the jury was discharged.

Mr and Mrs Taylor have attended court assiduously, going through the pain of a second major trial
Judge Mr Justice Leveson

In 2002 four other youths aged under 18 were cleared of killing the schoolboy, who came to England from Nigeria just three months before his death.

This time prosecutors believed they had a strong forensic case against the new suspects, who were accused of stabbing Damilola with a broken bottle after trying to rob him.

But there were no eyewitnesses and jurors heard conflicting evidence from experts at the trial.

The defence argued that Damilola might not have been attacked at all and could have injured himself by falling over on a piece of broken glass.

Two spots of Damilola's blood were found on a sweatshirt and a trainer linked to the two brothers but the defence disputed whether the clothes had been worn by them.

The jury struggled to reach a verdict, at first telling the judge they were deadlocked.

Hassan Jihad
Hassan Jihad was cleared of all three charges on Monday

But when Mr Justice Leveson asked if this meant they could not agree on verdicts, one juror indicated it did not.

They were sent out to consider whether there was any point trying to reach a majority verdict, returning minutes later to clear the youths of murder and assault with intent to rob.

But they could not reach a majority verdict on the manslaughter charge.

As the jury was dismissed, the judge Mr Justice Leveson paid tribute to the Taylor family.

He said: "Mr and Mrs Taylor have attended court assiduously, going through the pain of a second major trial.

A beautiful life was taken in a violent and senseless way
Taylor family lawyer Neil O'May

"However it occurred, in whatever circumstances, they have my deepest sympathy."

The mother of the two brothers collapsed and wept in court as her sons were cleared of murder.

The Taylor family's lawyer Neil O'May said: "The whole family are deeply distressed and profoundly disappointed that the jury today could not decide on who killed their son Damilola.

"This trial has been a traumatic time for them because they have had to hear yet again details of how their son died so tragically."

He added: "Damilola was only 10 when he was killed. A beautiful life was taken in a violent and senseless way."

He said Mr and Mrs Taylor were praying that those involved would be brought to justice swiftly.




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How the Damilola Taylor case unfolded



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