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2000: Schoolboy Damilola Taylor dies in stabbing

VIDEO : Police launch a murder inquiry

A schoolboy has died after being stabbed in the leg by a gang of hooded attackers in Peckham, south London.

Damilola Taylor, 10, staggered 100 yards with blood pouring from the wound in his leg before collapsing in a stairwell near his home on a rundown council estate.

His mother, Gloria, sobbed as she described how she had gone to her son's school to complain that he was being bullied.

"Damilola came home on Friday night and said he had been beaten," she said. "I asked, 'Did you fight with them?' and he said, 'No mummy, I did not fight with them.' He said he was in pain."


Mark Parsons, the headmaster of Oliver Goldsmith Primary School where Damilola was a pupil, said he was "deeply shocked" by Damilola's death. But he denied children at the school had anything to do with the killing.

"We take any incidents of bullying very seriously. We have a clear policy on this," he said.

Police appealed for help to track down the youths who attacked the boy, apparently with a knife or broken bottle.

They said he was ambushed as he returned home from an after-school computer club. A single stab wound in his left leg severed an artery and despite frantic attempts by workmen and paramedics he bled to death.

Detectives said they were hunting three black youths aged between 11 and 14 and dressed in dark, hooded jackets who were seen running away from the stairwell at about 1700 GMT.

Superintendent Rod Jarman, head of Southwark Police, said, "This is an appalling tragedy and on behalf of all the police officers in Southwark, I offer our deepest sympathy to Damilola's family and friends."

Damilola was brought to the UK from Nigeria with his brother and sister four months ago by his mother, who was seeking medical treatment for his sister's epilepsy. His father still lives in Nigeria.

The 1960s council estate in North Peckham where he was killed is notorious for its climate of violence and high crime levels. Only half the homes on the estate are occupied. The rest are being bulldozed to make way for new housing.

In Context
Four youths were tried and acquitted of Damilola's murder in 2002.

Three other youths were cleared of murder after a second trial at the Old Bailey in 2006.

One was cleared on all charges but the jury failed to reach a verdict on a charge of manslaughter against the other two, brothers Danny and Rickie Preddie, aged 18 and 19.

After a 33-day re-trial the brothers were convicted and in October 2006 they were sentenced to eight years' youth custody for the manslaughter of Damilola.

Two inquiries set up to learn lessons from the case were published in December 2002.

They were critical of the way the Metropolitan Police dealt with the case, in particular the handling of a 14-year-old witness known to the court as "Bromley".

Her crucial evidence was thrown out of court because she had lied.

The reports did, however, say the police had been right to prosecute the four defendants.

Richard and Gloria Taylor have been awarded 11,000 compensation for the death of their son - an amount which victim support groups have condemned as "derisory".

The Taylors continue to run the Damilola Taylor Trust, set up in their son's memory to help disadvantaged young people.

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