African News

The Damilola Murder Trial: Fresh Evidence Emerges

24 July 2006 at 09:17 | 540 views

By Abu B. Shaw, Vanguard London Bureau Chief

New clues in to the murder of Nigerian teenager, Damilola Taylor(pictured), six years
ago in Peckham that may lead to the conviction of the killers, have emerged
at the Old Bailey court in London.

This is the third criminal trial so far. Two teenage brothers Danny Preddie
and Ricky Preddie are facing a manslaughter charge. The first two previous
trials ended without any guilty sentence passed. Four other youths suspected
of killing the 10-year-old Nigerian school boy were cleared of his murder in
2002.

Brothers Ricky and Danny were however charged with manslaughter in June this
year after the Crown Prosecution Service cleared them of murder in April
2006 for lack of sufficient evidence. But the brothers’ anonymity was lifted
after reaching 18, the age of consent. Their names and pictures were finally
published.

The court heard that the brothers, who were also acquitted of attempted
robbery, were linked to the crime scene by fibres and blood spots on their
clothes. But the jury failed to reach a verdict on manslaughter.

This lack of conviction so far has infuriated Damilola’s parents Mr. Richard
Taylor, 60, and mum Gloria Taylor, 55. The disgruntled parents were in court
for the third time to face the rigours of hearing again how their beloved
son died. The tireless parents are obviously disappointed with the criminal
justice system in England and Wales for failing so far to nail those
responsible for the killing of their son after six years of trials and
tribulations.

However, latest evidence emerging in court may likely nail those responsible
for this heinous crime. The Old Bailey heard on Monday July 17 that the
blood of Damilola Taylor was found on a T-shirt owned by one of two brothers
accused of killing the schoolboy.
But Ricky Preddie denied knowing about the blood stained T-shirt that was
found in his bedroom cupboard, the Old Bailey court was told.

A witness in Damilola Taylor’s ongoing retrial said on Thursday July 20 that
a juror tried to have sex with him in a gay nightclub sauna. The court heard
that the witness even filmed the disgraced juror on his mobile phone. The
juror was on the first trial of brothers Ricky and Danny and was immediately
discharged after the scandal.

The Old Bailey heard that the witness in question, who gave evidence at both
trials, also said he spoke to suspect Ricky at a children’s home after
Damilola was stabbed. Ricky is alleged to have told the witness when asked
if he had stabbed Damilola: “Yeah man, I did it.”

Damilola was stabbed in the leg with a broken beer bottle and bled to death
in a stairwell in Peckham, South London in November 2000. Nigerian-born
Damilola arrived in England three months before he was killed. CCTV footage
caught the agile Damilola skipping home after leaving the Peckham Library
and shortly afterwards he met his death.

Ricky, 19, and his brother Danny, 18, who were 12 and 13 years old when the
crime was committed in 2000, both denied manslaughter. The trial continues.

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