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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Father criticises 'soft' sentence
Rickie (r) and Danny Preddie
The Preddie brothers were 12 and 13 at the time
The father of Damilola Taylor has questioned whether the eight-year youth custody sentences given to his son's killers would act as a deterrent.

In a statement read outside the Old Bailey, standing with his wife Gloria, Richard Taylor said the case also highlighted a "catalogue of failures".

Danny and Rickie Preddie, aged 18 and 19, of Peckham, south London, were both sentenced at the Old Bailey on Monday.

Damilola, 10, died after being cut with a broken bottle in Peckham in 2000.

Mr Taylor said: "From the outset this case has been a catalogue of failures - failure by the system to keep young people in school and off the streets, failure to prevent them from committing crime and failure by their mentors to give good direction and failure by the authorities to catch them sooner.

We acknowledge efforts by the police and government to date but we feel they are insufficient to address the problem longer term
Richard Taylor

"Today's convictions will not bring Damilola back and we question whether these sentences will act as an appropriate deterrent to potential criminals.

"With the spate of recent stabbings and shootings by young people for whom carrying weapons has become an acceptable norm, we believe Damilola's murder reflects a crisis within our communities that is now out of control.

"We acknowledge efforts by the police and government to date but we feel they are insufficient to address the problem longer term.

"My family and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure Damilola's death was not in vain by using all opportunities to support all relevant initiatives to prevent similar failures reoccurring."

Flawed investigation

He thanked all family, friends, community members, the media, and others throughout the country who sent messages of support to him and his family.

"We have all learnt lessons from this terrible experience and I hope these two young people learn theirs in time to come," he added

"We must continue to be intolerant of violent behaviour, particularly amongst young people for the future safety of our children."

After the youths were led away, the judge Mr Justice Goldring praised Det Supt Nick Ephgrave for bringing them to justice by re-investigating the forensic evidence.

He said: "It is clear the original investigation was flawed."

Outside court, Mr Ephgrave said: "It has been a long and difficult road for the Taylor family.

"This was bullying taken to its extreme form. Six years on, justice has been done."

Background to the Damilola Taylor case

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