Brothers 'admitted killing of Damilola'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Two teenage brothers laughed after they told prison officers and inmates they had killed Damilola Taylor, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

One of the boys, who were both 15 when they were held in a young offenders' institution, was said to have told officers they had stabbed the 10-year-old in the leg, but did not mean to kill him.

The brothers, now 16, later joked and laughed about the case, the jury was told. The brothers were staying at Feltham young offenders' institute in west London in February last year for matters unrelated to the killing.

Darren De'ath, a prison officer who was running an induction session, asked a group of inmates if any of them was expecting a long sentence. He told the jury: "One of the brothers said, 'Possibly murder', and then laughed.

"One of the other boys asked, 'Who did you murder?' and the other brother replied, 'Damilola Taylor, but we didn't kill him. We just stabbed him in the legs. It was not our fault that he died'."

Gloria Taylor, the dead boy's mother, who was sitting at the back of the court, looked down and shook her head. Mr De'ath said he later asked the brothers whether they admitted killing Damilola. The officer added: "Both of them laughed and said, 'Just hypothetically speaking, but we are not telling you any more because you are just interested in the £50,000 reward'."

The reward was offered by the Daily Mail for information leading to the conviction of Damilola's killers. Four months after the alleged comments were made, the youths were charged with the murder of Damilola, who bled to death after being stabbed with a broken bottle on the North Peckham Estate, south London, in November 2000.

The brothers and a 15-year-old boy deny murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to rob. The youths are all from south London but cannot be named for legal reasons.

During cross-examination by Courtenay Griffiths QC, one of the defence barristers, Mr De'ath agreed that the "confession" might have been said to make themselves seem tougher to ward off bullying.

Another officer at Feltham, Gayle Bennett, also told the court the brothers had admitted the stabbing while on remand. She said: "The rest of the lads were just chatting amongst themselves but it went quiet. I can remember just staring. One of the brothers said, 'Yeah, we stabbed him'. One of them said, 'You look a bit stressed, miss'. I said I didn't want to talk about it."

A 16-year-old Feltham inmate said one of the brothers told him a 17-year-old youth, who was cleared last week, had stabbed Damilola in the leg after one of the brothers had taken a mobile phone and money from the boy. The youth made his statement three weeks after he was jailed for gross indecency with a child and inciting the rape of a 13-year-old boy. The trial continues.