Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Damilola

The government scientist could not see the blood.

Some years later, a private testing company could see the blood.

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Damilola Taylor, aged 10, bled to death on a stairwell on a rundown housing estate in Peckham, south London, in November 2000.

A forensic scientist, Sian Hedges, told the court she did not know how she missed a spot of Damilola Taylor's blood during the murder inquiry in 2000.

The blood was 'on the heel of a trainer''.

That blood was found in 2004, when an inquiry into the 10-year-old's death reopened.

Two brothers aged 17 and 18 deny murdering Damilola in November 2000.

The trainer is alleged to have belonged to one of the brothers whose blood was also on the shoe.

Ros Hammond, of private testing company Forensic Alliance, said she saw the bloodspot with her naked eye, and had found it on a photograph taken by Ms Hedges, once it was enlarged.

"It seems they had not identified the blood staining," Ms Hammond told the Old Bailey.

The spot of blood, which appears to have fallen from above, was less than a centimetre wide.

Ms Hedges, who worked for Home Office agency the Forensic Science Service, told the trial she had found two blood spots and tested the rest of the trainer, but found no other blood.

She said: "I performed the tests as they are in my notes. I do not have any other explanation."

Shown the trainer in court, she agreed she could see the blood stain on the heel.

The prosecution said the new evidence points "with certainty" to the participation of the three accused in the attack on Damilola. Reportedly, spots of blood and fibres link three youths to the killing of schoolboy Damilola Taylor.

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The two teenage brothers were found not guilty of the murder of Damilola Taylor at the Old Bailey on 4 April 2006 but the jury could not reach agreement on the lesser charge of manslaughter. On 3 April 2006, Hassan Jihad was found not guilty.

The jury was discharged, meaning the Crown Prosecution Service will have to decide if it wants another trial on manslaughter. The brothers were also cleared of assault.

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The police have been accused of racism and of not carrying out an effective enquiry.

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In 2002, four youths went on trial for the murder of Damilola.

The trial led to all four suspects being acquitted.

The judge ruled that the prosecution's key witness, a 12-year-old girl, was unreliable.

The following is taken from the site:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/1921475.stm

The comments on a BBC programme are dated April 2002 and refer to the 2002 trial.

* I cannot understand how vital evidence was not told to the jury, for instance a fragment of glass, from the bottle that killed Damilola, was found in the trainer of one of the boys. But the judge ruled that the jury should not hear it. Another example was how one of the boys admitted to the killing of Damilola, but this was not heard.

* Having watched the excellent Panorama programme on the trial I'm amazed that no one (or agency) has been able to stop the activities of this seemingly well known gang "The Untouchables".

* Clever educated manipulation of a working class jury has, I suspect, allowed guilty parties to go free. I have no love for the police service as I consider it sadly inept.

* At the end of the programme we heard how one of the accused confessed, then the judge decided not to let the jury hear this confession because the boy was upset.

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