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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Damilola case dubbed 'farce'
A march by Southwark churches in protest at Damilola's death
Churchgoers marching in protest at Damilola's death
A Labour MP has described the Damilola Taylor case as a "farce" and called for a parliamentary debate into the investigation.

Claire Curtis-Thomas, MP for Crosby on Merseyside, told the Commons she believed many people had been let down by the outcome of the trial.

She urged Robin Cook, Leader of the Commons, to give members a chance to comment on the role of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).


This will not be the last time a child is killed in this neighbourhood

Camilla Batmanghelidj
Peckham youth worker

Ms Curtis-Thomas, speaking in the Commons, said: "I have just learned of the result of the Damilola Taylor case and I'm sure like many people in this country I will regard it as yet another judicial farce which has let down many."

She told Mr Cook: "I do hope you will give consideration to a debate in this House about the role that the police and the CPS played in this particular farce and give members an opportunity to comment on it."

Mr Cook said it would be "foolish" for him to express a view.

Earlier Downing Street said if there were issues to arise from the trial, they would be addressed.
Claire Curtis-Thomas MP
Ms Curtis-Thomas wants a Commons debate

The prime minister's official spokesman said : "The thoughts of the prime minister and the government are with Damilola Taylor's parents."

In Peckham there was a firm belief Damilola was killed and the culprits were still at large.

There were also warnings of more tragedies waiting to happen.

Camilla Batmanghelidj, who runs a group for vulnerable youngsters in Peckham, called Kids Company, said: "These difficulties are arising because we are under-investing in our youth. and we're not taking care of them sufficiently.

"This will not be the last time a child is killed in this neighbourhood or in any other inner city neighbourhood."

Bola Ogun, chairman of governors at Oliver Goldsmith School in Peckham, which Damilola attended, said: "It is disappointing that at the end of that time, they (the Taylors) don't have the comfort of knowing that the people responsible for this horrendous crime are behind bars."

Demolition

Stan Brigden, 69, who lives 200 yards from the spot where Damilola died, said teenage gangs still roam the estate.

Mr Brigden, a retired engineer, told BBC News Online: "It's very sad that nobody has been brought to book for his death. He and his parents deserve justice."

A Southwark Council spokeswoman said: "Our hearts and thoughts are with Damilola's family today as they have been for the last 17 months.

"We will continue to work closely with the police and the local community to do everything in our power to ensure a tragedy of this kind does not happen again."

She said the stairwell where Damilola was found bleeding would now be demolished.

Police had advised the council to delay its renovation project until after the trial.

Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

BACKGROUND

PANORAMA SPECIAL

AUDIO VIDEO

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CBBC NEWS
See also:

25 Apr 02 | England
25 Apr 02 | England
25 Apr 02 | England
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