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Panorama Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Your comments on Damilola
Your comments on Damilola

Have your say

Thank you for your comments. We have now finished publishing them on the site. Due to the large volume of e-mails received we apologise that we have not been able to publish all of them, but please do not be discouraged from sending us your comments on future programmes.

I'm fourteen and never normally cry at things like this, but I did this time, for ages. I feel not enough has been done to get the murderers of Damilola locked up. And I cannot imagine why any teenager would want to do something as awful as this. My heart goes out to Damilola's parents, and I am praying for them.
Liana Casey

I thank the Panorama team for their in-depth exploration of Damilola's life. Damilola had wonderful parents and an ideal childhood and his death is unforgivable. However, I do not believe that by withdrawing child benefit from any parent less giving than the Taylors will bring about a solution to the "crimes" committed by the perpetrators of Damilola's murder. Rather that less money means more crime. The media and politicians focus on Damilola (and he has touched us all) but contained in the Guardian newspaper yesterday was a small block of news where a four-year-old child was strapped to death by her father. How is less money for the parent going to prevent that? We need to take a lesson from the dignity and parenthood of the Taylors where we are willing to do anything to give our God-given children their right to a peaceful childhood. So let's think again and put more money - rather than less - into their care.
Gilly Vaulkhard

My sympathy goes out to the family of Damilola. It is very sad that young children are becoming violent and prey on other children. Something has to be done to safeguard other innocent children from such barbaric behaviour. I hope that another family do not have to bury their children because of other dysfunctional and violent children. The police and other authorities have to do much more to protect our children. We do not want people to become vigilantes to protect their children. I hope that my message will bring some type of little comfort to the Taylor family. God bless and may the good Lord comfort the family in the loss of their son.
Karen Browne
Brooklyn, New York

I admire Fergal Keane for his lucid reporting on Panorama and the way which he presented the story of the Damilola murder - in the only way a good reporter should - with the truth. I have read many of the public's comments and can only add what a majority of people have already expressed: absolute horror at this senseless murder of a lovely ten-year-old boy by young thugs, and extreme disappointment in our justice system. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Taylor family: a wonderful example to us all of unity and love. Love: something that is lacking in these unfeeling criminals. The creed "love thy neighbour" is obviously not something they have experienced. Damilola had so much love from his family and friends and that I believe is precisely why these young criminals picked on him. It must really make them feel great: bullying, raping, killing, mugging, etc. with complete impunity, knowing that no one will stop them - as they themselves said -untouchable. It is absolutely SHOCKING that today we cannot even walk the streets in our own country without looking over our shoulders because we are so afraid of being mugged or murdered. We no longer have confidence that we will be protected by the institutions which have been established to protect us. I, for one, will seriously start thinking of hiring a bodyguard when I go into town to do my shopping... maybe then I will feel safe and secure.
Rose Waisberg
(now living in Brussels)

As a resident of Peckham, I am getting very upset by the fact that race dimensions are being brought into the Damilola case in the way that they are. The suspects include children from ALL races, although most (please note) are mainly black. Please stop aiming anger at the police for today's failure to secure a conviction. The Stephen Lawrence enquiry is an entirely separate matter and at no time have the police been seen to be 'racist' in this matter - ask

it's NOT poverty that is to blame BUT how we choose to deal with it in our own lives that matters.

Margo Nightingale
Damilola's parents about their feelings on this . I am a racially mixed person who has grown up around many ethnically diverse children who have developed a view that violence is the best way of achieving something on the street and then, in turn, want to accept no accountability or blame for the horrors they commit. The most unpalatable thing is that these characters seek to blame society at large for their disposition in life. This is just the tip of an 'unreported' iceberg of child related violence. I would like to praise the lady on your panel as she really has her finger on the pulse of the problem.

An excellent documentary! It's time people opened their eyes to witness the truth. My deep thanks and admiration to BBC staff and people who worked on the documentary for such a courageous act against the stream of western media! It's not journalism if its not dangerous! Long Live Free Media!

I am sick of listening to excuses being put forward to excuse the behaviour of these criminals. Lots of us came from a poor background... it's NOT poverty that is to blame BUT how we choose to deal with it in our own lives that matters.
Margo Nightingale

I've been watching your programme, and just listening to what you're talking about. Although all that your guests are saying is true, I don't think it's the same for most people. The basic thing is most of us are from round the way, if you know what I mean... we never had much when we were little, and grew up feeling that if we ever wanted something, we had to go up and take it, even if it meant bloodshed. Providing extra social care for these "delinquents" will make little impact (in the short run), because a LOT of them don't care about life, or whether they live or die. Its a sad thing, but that's the way we grew up, and many of us don't know life any different. People say this is England and it's a rich country and all that, but trust me none of that money comes to us. And when you see others doing well, spending thousands of pounds out of brown paper bags, you want to be like them, and you join them... that's the way it starts! Just hope time will change things. My heart goes out to the Taylors.
Dwayne, 17

I am loosing all faith in our Government and the British justice system. I'm scared at the thought of bringing a child into this world and living in this country. Will politicians really sort street crime out or again is it just words? Things must change and it must be NOW!
Leanne Henderson

Although I agree with Camilla Batmanghelidjh about addressing the needs of these children, it takes along time to build up trust and change behaviour and in the meantime whole communities are suffering by feeling terrorised. Their lives must be misery.

A very difficult programme to make but Fergal Keane showed great sensitivity. Looking at Damilola's happy life before he came to Britain made me feel even more how unjust life is. This happy, loving family torn apart whilst the monsters who did this live on and their families presumably continue to allow them to spread terror through the Peckham estate. We should feel ashamed that we have estates like this in Britain and the families interviewed should not have to live in constant fear. A greater police presence is required in areas of high crime to prevent another tragedy like this one. I hope that Damilola's killers are brought to justice.
Tracy Brighten

Most of your commentators seem to have ignored the fact that there was no evidence against the accused - save the claims of some who had been clearly "bribed" to make statements. What would your writers prefer... hang 'em high street justice?
T Hedley

We have to consider all the facts of this case and empathise with the court's decision

As one of the comments stated: where were the parents of these children when they were out committing these offences? If you see a dog running wild in the street, it' not the dog's fault, it's the owner's for not teaching it discipline. What has happened to the discipline of the youth of today? I am 52; when I was at school and you did something wrong you got a whack from the teacher, then probably another one from your parents. Look at today: a teacher confronts a child in school and they are out of a job. These parents want taking aside and given a lesson in how to control their children. They don't deserve the right to be parents.
John Debnam
Tenerife, Spain

I am getting tired of hearing accusations made about racism, that the boys came from a bad upbringing, it's the parents' fault. We seem to be forgetting the main point of this trial. We have to consider all the facts of this case and empathise with the court's decision. Yes the investigation had been damaged, yes the witness should not have been financially induced and yes it shouldn't have surrendered to public pressure but we should not be putting these youths on trial any longer. They have been acquitted. Justice, as far as fundamental and insufficient evidence is concerned, has been done. I resent the press glamorising "the new Crays" and turning this tragic and baseless case into money making expedition.

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. There is no justice in this country. I feel appalled and ashamed to be British, what must people across the world think of us? We are supposed to be a rich and great country, but we let this happen. Something has gone very wrong with this country, and I hope Tony Blair can take his head out of the sand and see the state this country has been reduced to!
D Green
Stockton on Tees

I think the programme on Damilola was very good. I think that the boys who killed Damilola should go to prison. I am praying for Damilola's parents and family, I hope his sister gets better. I am also praying for the people who killed Damilola.
Jessica (aged 12)

I live in Oakland, California. I am currently in rehearsal for "The Colour of Justice" - about the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. Many of us in the cast are British and knew about Stephen. It is so shocking to now see this case. The similarities are so frightening. The picture is so much bigger than just these very public cases - we are dealing with the disintegration of our societies on both sides of the Pond, kids who've grown up with parental figures who no longer understand right from wrong, and this will take generations to resolve. Many murders over here are gang/drug related - but it seems, from my memory also, that there has always been a level of vicious, unprovoked and insidious bullying in England that is now becoming much more violent. Thanks for an excellent Panorama which I was able to watch live over the Web.
Jan Hetherington
Oakland, CA, USA

I have never reacted to a programme on TV before, but after watching Panorama I have never felt so angry or so frustrated. I thought that the Stephen Lawrence case was a one-off and that people would never get away with such a blatant act of animal cruelty again. I see I was wrong.
Anto Carberry

The greatest love you can give to a child is bringing him up well

Basil Nze
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Damilola's family. This bright, happy young boy came here to live and he never got a chance! I feel sickened that after this tragic event Tony Blair now decides to act. He needs to begin by helping the youth of today by building up their self-confidence to make them feel worthwhile in this society. Perhaps then crime will be lowered. Damilola was a young boy who would have contributed greatly to society - if only his neighbourhood would have given him the chance. I respect the way in which his parents have acted throughout this troubled time - my heart goes out to you.
Nicola Burleigh

It is a pity that this happened but a great lesson indeed for all. However, I believe that any child who can kill has reached the age to be prosecuted and treated as an adult. The law is making our children to be sacred cows; that is why a lot of them glory in crime knowing that they will come out free. If a child crawls to pinch me, I will also crawl to pinch him back to teach him the lesson that pinching one can hurt. We have to do things to deter children from committing crime. Any child who knows that, if he hits an adult, the adult can/will hit back, will never attempt to hit the adult. The is the philosophy in some countries and works very effectively. Children who smash cars must be made to know that, if the owner catches them, they can be mal-handled will never attempt to do so. We should do things to stop children from being on the safer side of the law. My dad once told me, "instead of me to live to see you become a useless person in life, I better kill you to know that I have no child." He rigorously trained me with punishments and rewards, and that made today what I am and what I achieved. There is no need to stop parents from punishing children. Children sometimes need to be smacked to realise the importance of something in their lives. There is no need to claim to love your child and let him become a drug addict or an alcoholic or thief. The greatest love you can give to a child is bringing him up well and alive with whatever means that is workable - reward, punishment, smacking, shouting, grounding, positioning, etc. Consider these things because I am talking from experience.
Basil Nze

My heart goes out to Damilola's family. After all this time still they have no answers. I think it wasn't the police that let him down. They know who did this - that is why they are not looking for anybody else. I think the judge was the one who let this young child down by dismissing evidence which I think would have brought a conviction. At the end of the day, those people responsible for this child's death have brought new meaning to the saying "they got away with murder". I think it's disgusting,

We can only pray for the family of Damilola. That poor boy was subjected to a vile attack. Where is this country heading? The leaders of this country have no nerve to be involved. The police are powerless. And the parents can only be ashamed to have such children. Unless something drastic happens this country will spiral down to the dumps of the London Housing Estates.
Robert Slaughter

Sadness and anger is what I feel in my heart, and its the same sadness and anger I felt when I watched the programmes of Stephen Lawrence. I've shed a tear for both these young lads. How can our legal system fail these poor people. If things don't change our country will be over run with these un-educated disturbed children. This country needs to admit the system has failed and go out there and spend money on more prisons and start locking these people away. I would like to think it would be "a life for a life". God Bless everyone who is hurting right now due to this unresolved tragic incident.
Miss Lawrence

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, I have been following the story on your dear little boy and I am so sorry for all of the pain you are going through. I didn't know him, but he touched my life deeply and I will keep your family in my prayers.
Vonny Beier
Los Angeles, California

My heart goes out to the Taylor family. May God guide them as they continue to go through these difficult times without their son Damilola. After watching this, it made me sick and I cried. The law has failed this family, and how can they let these children carry on, these so-called untouchables. I hope there will be a retrial, because this is so unfair to this family.

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". If they can appear to "get away with murder" it is no wonder that others will copy their example. If a small gang can wreak havoc without consequence there seems little hope in preventing large parts of our inner cities from becoming "no-go" areas. I feel that not only has British justice let down the Taylor family but also the local Peckham community. The price of silence now is greater fear and violence in the future. Until local people are prepared to bring (or help bring) these thugs to account the situation can only get worse. Lastly my respect and heartfelt sorrow goes out to the Taylor family.

I was so moved by your latest film on the case of Damilola Taylor. At last an insight into what life is REALLY like for people who live on "sink estates". Maybe Damilola's death will not be in vain if it means that the government and the British people will sit up and take notice of the despair and hopelessness that exists on these estates. I speak as one who has experienced this. In 1994 I was accepted at London College of Printing to do a degree in Film and Video; I studied documentary and my role was camera/cinematography. I left school at 14 with no qualifications and the first of my family to go to university. I am/was a single parent living on a sink estate in S. London. The first year into my degree on the estate there were a number of burglaries. I had bought myself a new video/TV out of my grant [remember those], of course couldn't get insurance, they were "taken". Then a young 17-year-old pregnant girl was stabbed by another girl and died a few weeks later. No media coverage. Muggings were run of the mill, friends stopped visiting, so many other nasty little instances I could go on. The final straw, my own beautiful daughter was being terrorized and as I was studying my attention was elsewhere and on her 14th birthday found she was 20 weeks pregnant. I used my student loan to "escape" from that hell-hole; most are not as fortunate.

I am really afraid to come and visit the United Kingdom with my children

Because of the stress I lost my place at college. I felt like there was nowhere to turn. I eventually moved to Brighton and feel lucky to have survived. There are so many tragedies so many stories to tell. I am seeking work presently and would love employment perhaps in research or crewing, particularly in this subject matter as I feel empathy is paramount in covering issues like this. Documentary is the most important tool to provide a platform for those living on the "margins" of society to tell their story. Tony Blair and the rest of the rather complacent middle class voter he represents ought to pay heed as there are stories not unlike Damilola's happening too often. I have lived on the margins of society; I am a single mother with mixed-race sons living in a council house. When will someone listen/represent us, or at least give us a chance to speak? Once again, thank you for a brilliant and sensitive film.
JayJ Thomas

I am really afraid to come and visit the United Kingdom with my children. It has become so unsafe. When I read about Damilola I felt I better not come to London on vacation. God give passion to the family of Damilola.

I wonder why there was no mention of the enmity between West Indians & black Africans as a factor in the Damilola Taylor manslaughter particularly as the circumstances of the killing of a 15-year-old Somalian boy in Harlesden recently seems to be similar. Admittedly it is not "politically correct" to point this out but journalists these days are so afraid of being called "racist" that they do not tell the whole truth.
P L Roberts

In response to email that wants to know if there would have been such coverage if Damilola was white, I would simply like to say look at MILLE DOWLER, LOOK AT SARAH PANE. Look at the coverage with the media around them. It doesn't matter if he was black or white the fact is that he is now dead. REST IN PEACE DAMILOLA OLUFEMI TAYLOR

These boys are untouchables because they have NEVER met the hotter untouchables. They have never been challenged by any tougher groups or individuals targeting them one by one and facing them squarely. The Police can't do everything. Individuals sometimes have to work to live and survive themselves, that is what I mean. They have to face events of life as they appear and develop means to overcome them.
Basil Nze

Panorama gave a strong impression that the Judge presiding over this case was far more interested in the politically correct than in the truth. If this is so, and I suspect that it is, how will we find men of truth, who put fact above form - who have the courage to follow what is right over what is safe, safe to their careers that is, to judge us? Only such men are worthy to be the custodians of this great country which deserves so much more than was delivered in Damilola's case. I urge the BBC and everyone in the country to keep this question of law and order to the very forefront of everyone's mind, and to let it become so much more important than the narrow self interest that seems to haunt our judicial system.
Sharon Jackson

All young people are fundamentally good

Sarah Ellis
I think the way to prevent an occurrence of such deaths is, first, to address the problems that children living in such deprivation face. Secondly, young people are not included in this society. We do not actively seek their opinions; they should be able to participate fully in all debates.
Grays Essex

I work with young people in Stevenage and the things I read on your website are not unusual stories for me to hear. I work within the school system as well and find it frustrating and maddening that however hard we work we are constantly undermined by lack of resources and lack of support. I now run my own business which is a theatre company for young people in Stevenage. We target young people who cannot afford the more elite companies and we work with some very challenging young people. Each one has at one time or another pushed me to realise that life is so tough for young people. But in turn each has pushed me to realise that if you can empower them to know that they are listened too and respected, they have so much to offer. We have dealt with many challenging incidents and yet the joy that each young person brings into my life is something that cannot be expressed on paper (or e-mail). All young people are fundamentally good. Why can't us grown ups leave our own issues on our doorsteps and stop dumping them into the world of the youths? You quote how many people have been abused on these gang-ridden estates. Can we really blame the young people? Where are their role models? When did someone last listen to them properly (and not just when they said what we want them to say). And when did someone last trust them to be the good people they really are?
Sarah Ellis

My heartfelt sympathy to Gloria and Richard Taylor. As a former police officer, I am aware of the frustrations of a legal system that lets every party down. The difficulty here is that barristers are far too interested in allowing their guilty clients to escape justice because money, and lots of it, is involved. They came up with a semi-plausible reason of how Damilola died but the CPS would not have pursued this case if there was insufficient evidence. 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, however they do not make the rules. Whereas educated barristers argue on mere points of law without examining reality. The truth of the matter is they do not really care about the truth - they just want to win their side of the argument. Their professional credibility is valued far higher than the death of an innocent child. they would accuse me of being far too emotive but I would accuse them of being far too materialistic.
Ann Shillam
Brierley Hill

By watching the programme, I truly believe that the Taylor family were badly let down by the law. They didn't get justice at all.

Do we not need to question the verdict as much as the conduct of the police?
E Whiteway

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. Why bother having a jury when one man can decide what should or should not be heard in court?
T Partington

I find it impossible to understand how a group of children is able to instil such fear into a community, and just how ineffective our judicial system is in dealing with these cases. Have we learnt nothing from cases such as Jamie Bulger? Surely there should be something the police can do to stop these "gangs" before it spirals even more out of control? I only pray that justice is done for Damilola in the future. It certainly wasn't today. May those people live out their days with this on their conscience. I don't know how they can live with themselves.
Alyson Hudson

If the idea of protecting the young boy talking about being attacked by the gang is to blur his face, why put him in a shot with his easily identifiable mother?
Annette Grant-Watson

Many people will be upset by the verdict. Why do the police rely on evidence that can be so easily disregarded as hearsay? Was there not one shred of forensic evidence in this case ?
Diane Pike

It is time we went back to the basics of learning and behaviour. Crime is rising because the reward is there and the punishment is nowhere. Our psychologists and those working with these children should be honest to the public and admit this. The fact that teenage criminals have become untouchable only helps to attract other teenagers towards this way of life. Locking them up at least for a while is the only honest and realistic way of bringing this problem under control. Even teachers are now coming to the conclusion that troublesome pupils have to be expelled to protect the rest of the pupils.
Leigh on Sea

I thought your programme extremely unfair and highly biased - it was almost a re-trial (by television) based solely on rumour and innuendo - AFTER the accused had been acquitted. All the REAL facts had been dismissed already by the Courts. To be able to present a fair view - in a one hour programme - when the original trial had lasted three months was extremely foolish.
Tony Hedley

The clear implication from the programme is that the killers were on trial but found not guilty. Does the panel believe, as I do, that it is time for a change in the double jeopardy law or the introduction of a not proven verdict as in Scottish law?
Tom Burbidge

Well Well Well. So, the lesson is: Get involved in violence, or be associated with it, or pretend to be involved and guess what? A whole night's worth of TV coverage on Prime Time! It will change the boredom of living off the State! These kids must think (know) they are more important than any adult in existence! So, these kids that will kill you, rape other kids, lie, etc. are too soft, tender and vulnerable to get a hiding? SHAME. Britain is on a downward spiral into anarchy. As these kids have shown - this is what they will do to the world you have given them! You people really are too scared aren't you? Or is it too soft? You adults created this situation.

It appears that there is no hope. A young boy is brutally murdered, nobody is in the frame, meanwhile the perpetrators are still out there in the community. Children are killing children, our young people are not safe anywhere on the streets, so, who do we blame? society, the police, parents????
Bow (East London)

Why do we always hear about how to deal with young offenders? The answer is simple. Young offenders should be sent to the military services to do work for the country and to gain an education. This will allow military budgets to be spent more efficiently and will reduce the cost of maintaining young offenders homes. These offenders need to understand the meaning of life, understanding how precious life is and that they cannot take it away without good reason like war, defending the free world. I lived in Peckham for 12 years and found it difficult to go out at night. Gangs rule the streets and we need more police to deal with bringing the criminals off the street and the MoD to educate them.
Gary Douch

It was mentioned on the programme that a significant proportion of young offenders have been abused by the primary family male role model whilst young. It was also intimated that offenders are in care. If these assertions are true I would like to know what level of support is given to children who are in these situations. Much play is made by politicians and the media about how parents must shoulder the blame and take on the responsibility for the actions of their children. If these people truly believe that to be the case then surely the government must shoulder the same burden and take the same blame.

We were one of the first families to move on to the North Peckham Estate at St Brivels Court back in the 70s, and you could clearly foresee what the estate would become. It was poorly built with cheap materials and badly designed. This soon became a mugger¿s paradise with intricate corners where they would hide stolen goods or lie in wait for their victims. On a number of occasions we have had to intervene to separate fights between young kids who were suppose to be playmates. We were lucky to get out when we did; it is sad that anyone should have to live in those kind of conditions, and sadly it has taken a young boy's life with high expectations from his family to highlight the problem the estate has suffered for a number of years. I sympathise with the parents of Damilola, and hope those who committed such a crime will be caught no matter how long it takes.
Janet Hay

Too little is being done by the authorities. Quick legislation should be introduced as a matter of urgency. The young offenders should be first stopped and detained then submitted to strict discipline and then a programme of rehabilitation should be put in place by educators in conjunction with the prison authority. There are legal loopholes concerning solicitors who try to free young offenders on the basis of technicalities. CCTV cameras should be installed on estates as dangerous as Peckham.
Ornella Raanaas

I cried and cried when I watched the programme

These types of gangs dominate local estates. No one cares - well, no one in authority - they don't live in these types of estates. That young girl who was raped: if she was middle class she would probably have got justice. Three years ago, a local gang out of control dominated my local estate, they committed countless crimes, it was only when they beat up a student very badly, a lad who was not a local but from a good family, was any real effort put into to sorting this gang out. Classless Britain.
Anthony Cavanagh

I have been so touched by this documentary that it prevented me from sleeping. How anyone could inflict such pain and fear onto such a innocent and happy child is unbelievable. I cried and cried when I watched the programme. I cried for Damilola and I cried for his family. I am so sorry that anyone could be so heartless as to commit such a bloody and evil crime. I hope the police can finally give Damilola the justice he deserves.
West Sussex

All I can say is that the judge's decision to deny the hearing of the social worker's evidence and the inadmissibility of witness Bromley has done one thing and one thing only. The gang has now been virtually given a license to commit whatever crimes they choose, as to get away with murder after so many admissions of guilt has certainly proved to them and the rest of the country that they truly and chillingly must be Untouchable.
Vicki Strong

I am really sorry about what happened to Damilola. As I watched the programme it made me feel sick to know that they didn't get sent down. I am only 11 and I sat there and cried. I am so sorry. I can't imagine what you have been through. I will be thinking of you all.

The programme was obviously made before the verdict. Does it therefore bias the audience into thinking that the acquitted were, in fact, guilty? Does TV have the right to do his? At the end of the programme I'm left with the feeling that there has been a miscarriage of justice, but the court has declared them innocent. Is this retrospective kind of programming socially responsible?
Llantwit major

I was a head teacher at an inner-city Birmingham School, and have seen many children display the characteristics that were identified with the group accused of the killing of Damilola, but set free. My deep concern is that these children who display such problems and anti-social behaviour will continue to commit crimes of a serious nature and the problem will escalate. People living outside these areas cannot imagine the degree of fear that many innocent people live with because of these young anti-social misfits.
M Mitchell

I once was proud to be English but recently I feel like part of a bad horror movie

Francine Pitney

I would like to know about the young man who was found dead in a boot of a car, nine days before Damilola was killed. He was found in a car on the North Peckham Estate .
Franco Zanelli

I feel very sorry for the family - but my mum wants to know if it had been a white kid, would it have been on the TV all the time?

When are the police going to wake up? Can we ever trust them? Yet again they have perpetrated a fiasco by bringing to trial a case in which they had no chance of a conviction. It will be alright, though, as, whilst the killers of Damilola roam free, the police can stick up a few more speed cameras to help pay for their incompetence. Rest in peace, Damilola.
Ken Wooster

Our justice system has let Damilola and his family down.

The programme really touched me. I previously never knew much about the situation but I feel so guilty for not having taken an interest and shown my support. If any way possible I would like to give my deepest condolences to the family and I know that all of my friends and family are behind me when I say that I'm ashamed to know that people that could do this to another person - let alone a 10-year-old child - live in this country amongst us. I once was proud to be English but recently I feel like part of a bad horror movie that has come to life. I hope these murderers get what they deserve. To the family - just stay strong and justice will come, have faith. Lots of love and thoughts go out to you!
Francine Pitney
Sittingbourne, Kent

These boys are just laughing at the criminal justice system in this country, it will not end here. There will be more murders of innocent people because they just get rapped on the knuckles, come up before the Courts and know exactly how to Play the System.
Eilish Culley

I am a mother and my sympathy goes to Damilola's mother and father and his family I want to know where the justice has gone if those youths are causing a lot of trouble WHY ARE THE POLICE DOING NOTHING it makes me very unhappy to see children doing this to other children it is so sad he never had a change there should be more done on the streets children should not be let out after nine o clock as I am so worried about my children the police need to do more. My feelings go out to Damilola's parents and I HOPE JUSTICE WILL FIND YOU ONE DAY
J Harvey

I think the girl who caused such a mess in court should be punished for making a sham of the prosecutions case. She was not interested in the incident and the consequences.
Chris Osborne

Surely the coroner could ascertain the way the wound was caused so that this fantastic suggestion of accident or self-infliction could be refuted

Mrs Howard
We applaud the BBC for having the courage to broadcast the Damilola case programme tonight and for the content. We offer our sympathy and prayers to the family. Surely the coroner could ascertain the way the wound was caused so that this fantastic suggestion of accident or self-infliction could be refuted. PS mobiles are not always with their owners and even teenagers have access to cars.
Mrs Howard

I have never felt the need to respond to a TV programme before, but after watching the Panorama on Damilola, I have been moved to ask what went wrong, and who is going to be held responsible for this farcical trial? The police say they are not looking for anyone else, so obviously believe the two brothers to be guilty. My heart goes out to Damilola's family, who moved me to tears with their dignity.

In relation to Damilola Taylor's death... So he apparently fell on to the bottle, which caused his death?? The media coverage suggested that a marble was at the back of his throat, and was later located upon an Autopsy being carried out. So could I assume, that Damilola not only fell onto the bottle, but also swallowed the marble as well?

It is a very sad society we live in today, I feel very ashamed that a young bright boy has come to this country to have an awful thing such as this to happen to him & his family. Something must be done to improve our society today, this sort of thing must not be allowed to happen in this day & age the people responsible for this must be brought to justice
Michael Harris

Steven Lawrence, Damilola Taylor are just a couple of names I could mention when I say miss-justice. Who's going to be next? The Metropolitan police services saying is "working for a safer London" and at this rate it's not going to be found. How can we let the justice system be so naive and blind?
Aneliese Whittaker

I think it is really awful what happened to Damilola, he was such a happy bubbly young boy and for that to happen at such a young age is really tragic. I hope the murderers are caught very soon and locked up, as they should be severely punished. I cannot begin to imagine what his parents were going through and can only offer my full sympathy towards them and their family. REST IN PEACE DAMILOLA
Joanne Smith

How can the British judicial system live with themselves for letting people get away with such horrific crimes?

Daniel Crossley
I feel rather suspicious about the way the justice system handled the case. Watching the Panorama programme made me realise that the jury were not informed of all the facts (such as the confession by one of the defendants to a social worker). Also, I find it an outrage that young offenders repeatedly 'slip through the net' and get away with violent crimes such as this. I think that a more thorough investigation should be carried out. How can the British judicial system live with themselves for letting people get away with such horrific crimes?
Daniel Crossley

Camilla was right when she said, no one was interested in the Peckham kids who she helps at Kids Company, until Damilola was murdered so callously, then all the adults wanted to hear them. We must as a society take joint responsibility for Damilola's death. If we ignore the crying children, we have to expect more tragedies such as the murder of this innocent child. There is another tragedy and that is that society has ignored the terrible truth about the Peckham estates and many like it, and that is that we have a disenfranchised group of people who play by different rules to the rest of us, as if they were outside of society completely, which of course they are, and we have made them so.
Hilary Hanbury

It is a basic human right that we should "all feel safe, all of the time". Any person who takes away that right from another is stripping them of their basic human rights. Those who inflicted this terrible act on Damilola & who day by day terrorise whole estates all over the country will never realise the consequences of their behaviour because they will never experience themselves what it is like to feel "unsafe". On the contrary, they will continue to feel extremely "safe". They are adept at manipulating the current police & justice system. The only way to stop them is to make them "feel unsafe" themselves. They need to be stripped of this basic human right just as they do it to others. Let them live in a place where fuel is poured through letterboxes & set alight, where they are taunted and called names night & day, where they are so afraid to go out (even to the shops for food) in case they are mugged or worse. Behaviour is a choice for all.
Mrs D North
Wolverhampton, West Midlands

I personally believe that everybody knows the killer(s) going by the evidence submitted by the social worker and the other inmate. I think it is time the government or the law allow the dynamic rule of law than the rigid ones like any other developed countries to avert the exploitation of law by these hoodlums.

I am ashamed to live in this country. It is a great pity Damilola ever came here having left such a happy secure environment - his poor parents thinking that he was coming to England for a better life. My son is in South Africa and friends ask me if I worry - I tell you I would worry more if he were in London. I hope that Tony Blair and his cronies watched your excellent coverage - why are the hands of our Police tied so - why is our law powerless to the point of uselessness - we should not be living in terror of these misguided thugs - the parents who have abused them should be brought to account for the damage they have done to their children in desensitising them to crime and breeding no respect for the law
Jennifer Lazenby

The police have such a thankless task; they put hundreds of man-hours into an enquiry, only to have relevant information on the accused suppressed in the name of justice

Jackie Charnock
My heart goes out to Damilola's family, I really can't imagine the pain they must be feeling tonight. Why, in this day and age can our justice system prevent jurors from knowing the history of offenders? The police have such a thankless task; they put hundreds of man-hours into an enquiry, only to have relevant information on the accused suppressed in the name of justice! Whose justice is this-the victims or the offenders? Isn't it time that the system was changed in favour of the victim rather than the accused?
Jackie Charnock

I would like to know WHAT is this world coming to? My daughter died the same year Damilola died so I can imagine the pain and heartache that Damilola's parents are going through. What is going on with the youth of today no one cares about each other any more the kids now are far worst than when I was a child. I feel deeply for the Taylor family and I do hope that the police will continue in finding Damilola's killers and bring them to justice. These kids should not get away with this I don't want this to happen to anyone else.

How can we ever have confidence in the judicial system when we hear after so many cases that the court has not 'been permitted' to hear certain evidence which subsequently appears important or even vital?
RM Stephens

I think the police done a good job as they always do its the courts that let us down the law needs to toughen up in this country our streets are dangerous someone has to change things. Poor Damilola was a innocent young boy these thugs have to be stopped before they strike again god bless Damilola's family I hope the one judge in this world see that the boys pay for what they have done someone is guilty for Damilola's death this law is a disgrace.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't! Sums up the situation with regard to police investigations. Too little and the police are all racists, too much and they are fabricating evidence. Let us not forget that the Crown Prosecution Service are responsible for deciding on a prosecution, where are they're spokespersons? The judiciary, police, education, social services, prisons, politicians and the community are unable to prevent, catch and convict the persistent hardcore of youth offenders who make a mockery of the whole system.
David Flanighan

Damilola's murder is a consequence of all the political correctness and fine tuning of a system that has already imploded on its self.

Kevin Wallace
Forty years of steady erosion in the education system. Many years of liberalism within the justice system, where today even lawyers are looked upon as only not much better than the accused, the judges are a joke and have been viewed by the general public as always out of touch. Criminals have laughed out very loud and for very long for to long. Any discussion about crime and disorder on our streets has always been stifled by the so called "understanding" classes, the liberals, the people who have tried to help and understand the poor unfortunate low lifes. It's an old adage, but if you spare the rod you spoil the child. Teach people that there are consequences to actions rather than setting up another agency. Damilola's murder is a consequence of all the political correctness and fine tuning of a system that has already imploded on its self.
Kevin Wallace

Just yesterday I was told a story of an old woman whose small dog was kicked by a pair of youths in a park in Streatham. She was very obviously distressed but none the less asked the two youths why they had kicked the dog. One of the lads poured the contents of his coke can over the ladies head. For all we know she may well be sitting at home now to distressed and frightened to leave her own home. Until we learn to put people before profit in all areas of society, law and all areas of our lives, this total disrespect will continue to grow. Thank you Mr Keane and the BBC for bringing us this programme. Please do not let it stop here. You have the power of influence. You can make the difference. If you really understand what you yourselves showed us this evening, it is your duty to help reverse the tide.

The 4 boys accused of this terrible crime have all spent time locked up for a crime that they have now been acquitted of. What are we doing increasing the powers of the courts to lock up even younger people for crimes that they have yet to be found guilty of committing?
Linda Byrne

I am so sad that justice has not been done. Those in the community will know who killed this lovely boy- it was in no way an accident. Those guilty must be identified by police pressure on the youth groups in the area. My heart felt sympathy goes out to the Taylor family.
Sue Duncan

So eager to accuse no one. So reluctant to place blame. So effective in doing...... absolutely nothing! :-) The good old U.K., forever the gentleman, god help you, seems the law won't......
P Faraway

I am sorry to say that I have lost all faith in the justice system, what kind of world is it we live in when respectable citizens are being terrorised by the youth of today, I strongly believe in the boot camps, which are scattered across the United States. Why is it these teenagers are allowed time and time again to recommit offence after offence, why are we letting them get away with it? The high rate of drug related crimes are not going to get any less they are increasing day by day, my husband and I were driven away from the home we had spent ten years improving, all the hard work ruined by thieves who smashed their way in time after time to steal whatever they could to purchase their heroin, and the police know who these culprits are, but as they say they aren't interested in the small fry it is the dealers. These criminals are so brazen today. So what do we do just let them drive us from our homes and lock ourselves away for fear of repetition of reporting these crimes to the police. I certainly feel afraid of what our society has come to and I need to be shown by our police courts and government that they are going to clamp down on the criminals, so I can have my faith reinstalled.

I feel that the police and the prosecution did not do a good job in preparing their key witness for the trial. This poor boy's life didn't really matter I'm afraid. Considering the neighbourhood he lives in and it's reputation the police probably didn't pursue it as aggressively as they would have the crime been committed in a more affluent area. The community has to come together with the police and police the area themselves. There has to be dialogue with the police and community leaders. The people have to get involved and report crimes. No one can sit by now and not get involved. Their children may be next.

I cannot conceive for one minute how the Lord Justice what ever his name was can possibly ever understand what it is like to live under the threats of violent street crime as Damilola did

Where is justice? It is time that Judges actually came from people who actually understand and can relate to victims of crime. I cannot conceive for one minute how the Lord Justice what ever his name was can possibly ever understand what it is like to live under the threats of violent street crime as Damilola did. If the Lord Justice what ever his name had any understanding of that he could never have allowed so much crucial evidence which should have convicted those guilty, to be dismissed as he did. I cannot understand how the criminal justice system can contain the word justice, it is anything but that when it can allow the killers of an innocent boy to go free to kill and no doubt kill again. Perhaps the Lord Justice what ever his name was who helped to clear Damilola's killers should spend a month living in one of the flats in Peckham. And is subject to the same terror Damilola faced by that gang of murderous youths. Perhaps then justice might actually be done by the so-called justice system. My heart felt sympathy goes to Damilola's parents.

Though Damilola is gone, your contribution to the course of justice through in-depth coverage and analysis is highly commendable. Nigerians would be interested in watching this particular episode of Panorama.
Adetokunbo Akintayo
Abeokuta, Nigeria

My heart goes out to the girl who admitted she had been raped by these boys but still had to go on living on this estate and watch her offenders go by day after day.

Edna Morgan
It was only after watching the Panorama show last night that I was able to comprehend the enormity of the pain Damilola's parents have suffered and are still suffering from the loss of their son. Like most average nuclear families in Britain or Europe for that matter they had only 2 children. The eldest is epileptic and Damilola who appeared to be some 4 to 5 years younger was their pride and joy. His only reason for being in England was his strong attachment to his elder sister and to think he ended up paying dearly for what I consider to normal family ties by being murdered on a housing estate is appalling to say the very least. This estate like so many others appears to be a breeding ground for violence, criminal behaviour and teenage gang warfare! My heart goes out to the girl who admitted she had been raped by these boys but still had to go on living on this estate and watch her offenders go by day after day. The attack on the Turkish immigrant only reinforces the fact that these youths are out of control and will definitely turn to a life of crime if something isn't done to redress the situation. The fact that the kids on this estate were reluctant to come forward is evident: they live in fear of these youths who blatantly commit violent crimes, never get sentenced or punished by the courts and always return to commit even more offences. Maybe the social workers should start addressing the causes of such anti-social behaviour rather than leaving up to the police & the courts!
Edna Morgan

Where are the parents of the accused? Quick enough to turn up in court and get their pictures in the papers. Where are they on any given day or night while their kids are out of the house? And if we are led to believe that two of the defendants have a mental age of four, how many four-year olds go around terrorising people? The law is a complete ass!!!
Pat Prosefrancis

To the members of Damilola's family, I pray for each and every one of you that the people of this disgusting act are brought to justice. May god give you peace and love for the rest of your days and know that you will see your beautiful son & brother again. May he rest in peace Amen
Auckland, New Zealand

It is an outrage! Then they claim there is no prejudice. Why would the court discharge the boys? I just pray that God will give Damilola's parents and siblings the fortitude to bear the loss. In the end, he's the ultimate judge.

Firstly, I would query the word 'experts' contributing to Panorama. The most skilled experts in this country are the ordinary people! The appeasement of the criminal and wrongdoer in this country over the last 35years (all in the name of 'fairness' and political correctness) has directly led to the murder and assault of many innocents, of course, including Damilola Taylor. We must return to meaningful punishment if this country is to become safe again.

I am fed up of hearing Camilla go on about how children are not to blame for the crimes that they commit. She is always blaming someone else. If we made these so called 'kids' accountable for the crimes that they commit and stopped harbouring them, then maybe we can start to do something about it. Stop feeling sorry for them.

I am 7 and wish big kids were nice to little kids.

James Harris
I feel very sad for Damilola's Mam and Dad, I am 7 and wish big kids were nice to little kids.
James Harris

I watched with anguish this Panorama Special Report. I cried and I was angry that a little boy was so frightened by thugs, and then so hunted down and killed. Whether the murder was intentional or accidental is secondary. That gang were intent on hurting him. You cannot rehabilitate people unless they want to be rehabilitated. Where is zero-tolerance policing when you want it? Have we proven yet that community policing does not work? I have two children of 3 and 1, and could not envisage a day without them. I cannot even imagine the anguish that Mr and Mrs Taylor, Tunde and his sister must be going through. My deepest, most empathetic sympathies are with them all. I'm so sorry that our society has failed you. I am ashamed that we could not keep your little boy safe and happy.
Dublin, Ireland

His parents have been let down by the so-called justice system, which punishes the victims at the expense of the criminals, aided and abetted by defence lawyers whose preposterous theories show they are only interested in lining their own pockets. Let these thugs sue the police over this - then the Damilola case will have to be re-opened.
Mark Clifford

Firstly, my heartfelt thoughts are with the Taylor family in the light of today¿s decision of not guilty verdicts. This trial was shambolic from start to finish. The tragic loss of Damilola demonstrates the pressing need for true family values to be re-instated into British life. That family breakdown contributes to many problems we have in our country today. We must learn to love, nurture and cherish our children unconditionally. We must treat our children as precious gifts as the gift of life is the greatest gift of all. I do not believe Damilola's to be an accident. The perpetrators of this appalling act of must face up to their heinous crime and come forward. Otherwise they must never have peace in their hearts and minds. God Bless Damilola and may you Rest In Peace Always.
Dorothy Tinkler

How can anyone say this was an accident when a marble was put in this poor boy's throat so that nobody would hear his cries?

I cried for the awful injustice done to this decent and respectable family. How is it possible to 'get away with murder'?

Polly Meyer
I cried for the awful injustice done to this decent and respectable family. How is it possible to "get away with murder"? Why does our "civilised" society continue to let it be terrorised by these inhumane bullies? But it's not surprising that these poor, deprived, offenders have no conception of WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG when their parents admit on T.V. that crimes like: car stealing, robbing old people and mugging are only "petty incidents". It seems to me that Third world Africa is more civilised than we.
Polly Meyer
Scotland / Switzerland

For the defence team to suggest this could in any way have been an accident is perverse and brings the legal profession into disrepute. Communities and individuals should start to take responsibility for themselves. We arare always looking to someone else, Police, Social Services and Government. The problem is always someone or somewhere else. Fergal Keane was as always superb. Wish all Panoramas could be hosted by him. It would refocus it away from its more recent tabloid tendencies and reposition it as well respected and serious current affairs programme.
Martin Maguire

I just wanted to say how much the Panorama Special on the murder of Damilola touched me. As a young person myself (21yrs), it was devastating to realise just how much crime is around us in everyday life. My heart went out especially to Tunde (Damilola's brother) who seems to blame himself, I know how hard it must be for him and just hope that one day he will be able to realise that he could not do anything about this act of pure evilness. Something has got to be done about this and other kinds of crime. It is just beyond a joke. When will the government realise that just saying "Don't do it again" to adolescent misbehaved children is simply not enough. If the culprits are caught I do not feel that they will get as harsher punishment as Damilola's family are having to cope with at the moment, but just hope that when they are caught the family will finally be able to rest Damilola in peace.
Phillippa Branston

Judges throw their cases out saying they are too young to understand what goes on in courts. What rubbish. Maybe Damilola would still be alive, if these boys were properly dealt with in the first place.
Nicola Blakemore

The fact that the authorities could not solve this crime demonstrates how far we have to go to solve the problem

Rae Gilder
How many times can we turn our heads away from the disaffected kids in our inner cities. Damilola's death is a tragic testimony to the lost innocence and the culture of violence experienced by many of these children. The fact that the authorities could not solve this crime demonstrates how far we have to go to solve the problem.
Rae Gilder

People should not have to live like this in this country, the estates in London are more like third world living conditions, also the laws of this country are failing decent people, these are children for heavens sake, they cannot be allowed to rule whole neighbourhoods and be exempt from the law that the rest of us abide by.
Janet Penney

Damilola Taylor

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