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EDITIONS
 Monday, 9 December, 2002, 15:08 GMT
Damilola's father criticises 'faulty' trial
The Taylor family
Damilola's brother, sister, mother and father Richard
Damilola Taylor's father believes a chronic shortage of police resources led to the failure to find and prosecute his son's killers.

Richard Taylor was speaking after the publication of reports into Damilola's murder investigation and the subsequent collapse of the trial.

Mr Taylor was highly critical of the "faulty" criminal justice system which he said failed his son.

We have not seen justice and we are still hoping that justice will be done

Richard Taylor
"I have great honour for the rule of law in this country and I believe everything should be done to make sure that justice is given to those who did this heinous act.

"But the rule of law failed me because the system did not make the changes when they were necessary.

"We have not seen justice and we are still hoping that justice will be done."

Mr Taylor said his family had subsequently learned officers had been taken off his son's case to work on another murder investigation.

"There was a lot of work put in at the initial stage but imminently there was an arrest there was a sort of withdrawal," he said.

"The withdrawal I mean is that resources were not there to enable them to carry out the investigation at a pace that was earlier carried out and that had a great effect on the case when it went to court.

Richard Taylor
Richard Taylor visiting the spot where his son died
"Most of the work supposed to be done was not properly done, which resulted in the way and manner the defence were able to attack the deficiencies that occurred."

The report by the Bishop of Birmingham, John Sentamu, highlighted the police's investigation of a crucial defence alibi - that a defendant used his mobile phone almost two miles from where Damilola was killed just seven minutes later.

"We believe that if the police had been properly resourced, a lot of work would have been carried out to actually get the evidence properly set out," Mr Taylor said.

"In a situation where, halfway, officers were moved away from the investigation, it makes the whole work very unachievable and that's what has resulted in the collapse of this."

In April this year, four teenagers were cleared at the Old Bailey of stabbing Damilola to death in a stairwell in Peckham, south London, in November 2000.

Mr Taylor was particularly upset that, during the trial, the defence claimed that his son's death was an accident.

He said he felt very "bitter" about that part of the trial.

He said the family had been struggling to move on from Damilola's death.

"It has been very difficult," he said.

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  ON THIS STORY
  Damilola's father Richard Taylor
"We are still hoping that justice will be done"

Click here to go to BBC London Online
Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

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27 Apr 02 | England
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