Children may be returned to their father

OJ SIMPSON : THE AFTERMATH

TIM CORNWELL

Los Angeles

The family of Nicole Brown Simpson signalled yesterday that they may be prepared to return Justin Simpson, seven, and Sydney, nine, to the care of their father, rather than subject them to a bitter legal tug-of- war

Lawyers for both sides were talking about a reunion and a possible joint custody agreement.

After his acquittal on Tuesday, OJ Simpson made it clear that he intended to ask for custody of his children. "My first obligation is to my young children, who will be raised in the way that Nicole and I had always planned," he said in a statement read by a son from his first marriage, Jason.

The fate of the two children is now an emotive issue, promising to be the latest poignant episode of the OJ Simpson soap opera.

They were upstairs sleeping when Nicole and her friend, Ron Goldman, were brutally murdered in a bloody struggle in the grounds of her home.

While the family of the other victim, Ron Goldman, have made no secret of their belief that Simpson is guilty, Nicole's parents have been much more discreet.

Her father, Lou Brown, said he was prepared to "assimilate" with the father of his grandchildren. "A reason a lot can be overlooked is the children," he said. "The children are our lives."

The Brown family are still party to a civil law suit filed against Simpson for damages from their daughter's death, but its fate is uncertain.

They would "pack those kids' bags and, with all the class and dignity they have, send them back ... They did not disparage O.J ... They will come home to a father that they love," a family friend told the Los Angeles Times.

However, Nicole's mother, Juditha Brown, said yesterday that she did not expect Mr Simpson to reclaim the children immediately. "He would like to get acquainted with the children again ... I think he is reasonable enough to know that the children have a good life here, that they find strength and love in this house."

Ms Brown said that they had informed the two small children of the outcome as soon as they returned to their Southern California home.

"Yes, we told them 'Daddy's free' They were happy. They love Daddy. We have never said anything negative about Daddy to them," she said.

"Our grandchildren now have a father that's a free man, whereas they have no mother regardless of her situation. But at least they have one parent to back up their life," Nicole's father added.

Legal analysts said that although Mr Simpson had been declared innocent of any crime, evidence from the murder trial could be introduced into a custody fight, and could weigh heavily against him.

That would include taped evidence of a violent abuse recorded during emergency phone calls that Nicole made to the Los Angeles police.

Sydney and Justin have been living with their grandparents in conservative Orange County, where Nicole grew up.

On visits to the local supermarket, the family called ahead to arrange for any tabloids and magazines which were carrying lurid coverage of the OJ murder case to be removed from the shelves.

The Browns were granted temporary custody of the children when Mr Simpson was first held in jail. In court papers, Mr Simpson's lawyers made it clear that he expected "to resume his legal and physical custody ... upon his release from incarceration". Although Mr Simpson talked to the children once a week by phone, they did not visit their father.

Faye Resnick, a friend of Nicole's who wrote a sensationalist book about her life, apparently spoke for many family members when she said: "Oh God! Nicole was right. She said he was going to kill her and get away with it. He always said he was above the law."

Friends of the couple disagree about how much attention the children actually received before and after the couple broke up.

Nicole, who enjoyed the high life among the Los Angeles party set, used to drive the children around in a white Ferrari paid for by Mr Simpson, full of family litter, coins and toys. "That was the car ... It just so happened that her station wagon was a Ferrari," said her sister Dominique Brown.

The children come up frequently in recorded telephone conversations between the Simpsons, revealed at the trial.

"Please leave, OJ. Please, the kids; the kids are sleeping," Nicole is heard saying in one call.

A voice identified as OJ's comes back: "You didn't give a fuck about the kids when you were fucking in the living room. Who cared for the kids then?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable