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The BBC's Stephen Cape
"The incident room has been inundated with calls"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 18:06 GMT
Stabbed boy, 10, bleeds to death

Police searches close to the death scene have been painstaking
Police have launched a murder investigation after a 10-year-old boy was stabbed on his way home from school and left to bleed to death.

Damilola Taylor was found with a severe leg wound on Monday at about 1700GMT on a stairwell at the North Peckham Estate.

The boy's mother, Gloria Taylor, said he had been bullied at school and that she had raised her concerns with teachers.

Damilola Taylor
Damilola Taylor had only been at the school for a few months

A post mortem examination was held on Tuesday afternoon and the cause of death was diagnosed as a stab wound to the left leg.

As a result, the investigation was upgraded to a full murder inquiry.

Mark Parsons, headmaster of Oliver Goldsmith Primary School in Peckham, denied bullying had anything to do with the boy's death.

He told BBC One: "I am totally convinced it is something outside the school. The allegations of bullying related to name calling and slight scuffles.

"It was not the type of bullying that would lead to this type of violence."

'Not racially motivated'

Police believe Damilola may have been involved in a scuffle in a road near where he died at about 1645GMT on Monday.

Officers are looking for three black teenagers aged between 11 and 14, and have indicated they are not treating the incident as a racially motivated crime.

Detective Superintendent David Dillnut, who is supervising the investigation into the death, said the three boys being sought wore dark hooded tops.

Damilola was stabbed as he returned home after school and he was still wearing his maroon school jumper.

Officers who arrived first at the scene attempted life-saving first aid.

We need as much help and support from the local community as possible

Det Supt David Dillnut

The crew of two ambulances attempted resuscitation but the boy was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at hospital.

Det Supt Dillnut said police had located several witnesses but still needed further information.

"This is a tragic incident and we need as much help and support from the local community as possible to find out what has happened," he said.

Police cordoned off the walkway where Damilola was found and searched the area for evidence.

The incident happened at a derelict end of the estate, much of which is currently being demolished.

Extra police have been put on patrol in the area and pupils at the dead boy's school are being interviewed.

'Deepest sympathy'

Southwark Council leader Stephanie Elsy said she was shocked to hear of the primary school pupil's death.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with his family.

"The council is working closely with the police to uncover the details of what happened," she said.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Shepherd, who is now leading the investigation, said: "I would like to thank the students, parents, staff and headmaster of the Oliver Goldsmith School for their cooperation in this tragic case."

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