Actor Robert Blake has been ordered to pay his stepchildren $30 million (GBP16.6 million) after a civil court jury declared he was responsible for his ex-wife Bonny Lee Bakley's death yesterday (18NOV05).

Eight months after Blake was acquitted of murdering his wife in a lengthy criminal trial, a Van Nuys, California jury determined that the BARETTA star "intentionally caused the death" of Bakley.

Jurors spent eight days in deliberation before delivering their verdict yesterday (18NOV05) by a vote of 10 to two.

Bakley was shot to death in May 2001 in Blake's car outside a California Italian restaurant.

The 72-year-old actor attended court for the verdict, and showed no emotion as it was read. He left the courthouse without making a statement.

Bakley's four adult children, who brought the civil case against Blake, did not attend court, but their attorney ERIC DUBIN told reporters the defendants own testimony cost him victory in the trial.

Outside court, Dubin said, "They hated him on the stand. They (jurors) all nodded in unison like he was just out of control."

Dubin added that his clients were "overwhelmed" by the verdict.

He added, "These kids lost their mom and that got overlooked over the years. This was a real family, this was a real person and to have that validated in a court of law means an awful lot to these kids."