Killing of Damilola Taylor

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Killing of Damilola Taylor
Date27 November 2000 (2000-11-27)
LocationPeckham, London, England
ConvictedRicky Preddie, Danny Preddie

On 27 November 2000, ten-year-old Nigerian schoolboy Damilola Taylor was killed in London, in what became one of the United Kingdom's most high-profile killings. Two brothers – who were 12 and 13 at the time of the killing – were convicted of manslaughter in 2006.

Damilola Taylor[edit]

Damilola Taylor
Damilola Olufemi Taylor

(1989-12-07)7 December 1989
Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria
Died27 November 2000(2000-11-27) (aged 10)
Peckham, London, England
Cause of deathStabbing
Known forStabbing victim
Parent(s)Richard Taylor (father; died 2024)
Gloria Taylor (mother; died 2008)

Damilola Olufemi Taylor was born in Lagos, Nigeria to Richard and Gloria Taylor,[1] both from the Yoruba ethnic group.[2] He attended Wisdom Montessori School in Ikosi, Ketu, Lagos before he travelled to the United Kingdom in August 2000 with his family to seek treatment for his sister's epilepsy.[3]


At 4:51 pm on 27 November 2000, Taylor set off from Peckham Library, south east London, to walk home.[4] Approaching the North Peckham Estate, he was surrounded by a gang of youths, including the Preddie brothers, on Blakes Road resulting in a gash to his left thigh and a severed artery. He was found in a stairwell on the estate and taken to King's College Hospital where he was pronounced dead.[5]


First trial[edit]

In 2002, four youths, including two 16-year-old brothers, went on trial at the Old Bailey for murder. The trial led to all four suspects being acquitted – two were acquitted on the direction of the judge after he ruled that the prosecution's key witness, a 14-year-old girl, was unreliable; and the jury found the other two not guilty.[6] As well as questioning the reliability of the witness, the defence presented expert witness testimony from Alastair Wilson, associate clinical director at the Royal London Hospital, that Taylor's wounds were consistent with having fallen on a broken bottle whilst being attacked. This was disputed by the prosecution, who argued that Taylor would have had to "take off and fly through the air like Peter Pan" in order for Wilson's theory to be correct. Wilson also admitted that "he had not seen Damilola's body or been given other information about the death." Pathologist Vesna Djurovic maintained that Taylor "was stabbed deliberately [with a broken bottle] in the left thigh, probably while he was on the ground."[7][8]

New evidence[edit]

Despite the acquittals, police vowed to keep the investigation open. New DNA techniques employed by Angela Gallop and her team identified Taylor's blood on the trainers of Danny Preddie[9][10] and on the sweatshirt cuff of his brother Ricky,[6] neither of whom were among the four original suspects. This led to a re-examination of the evidence obtained at the time of Taylor's death.[6] In 2005, fresh arrests were made, and 19-year-old Hassan Jihad and the Preddie brothers (aged 16 and 17) were charged with manslaughter. Due to their age, the Preddie brothers were not publicly named at the time of their arrest or during their trial.[citation needed]

Second trial[edit]

On 23 January 2006, Jihad (then 21 years old) and the Preddie brothers (then 17 and 18 years old) appeared at the Old Bailey to face charges of his manslaughter and assault before the start of their imminent trial. The trial commenced on 24 January 2006. Wilson again testified that he thought that Taylor had died after falling on a shard of glass from a broken bottle.[11] After retiring on 29 March to consider its verdict, the jury cleared Jihad of all charges on 3 April.[5] They were unable to reach a verdict on the charges of manslaughter against the two brothers, so they were released but with the possibility of a retrial on those charges.[citation needed]

Retrial for manslaughter[edit]

The retrial of the two brothers began on 23 June. As they were by then over 18, they were publicly named.[5] Both defendants were known to police, having committed multiple robberies.[12]

On 9 August 2006, the Preddie brothers were convicted of Taylor's manslaughter after a 33-day retrial.[5] During the retrial it was noted that while police followed procedure collecting evidence, lapses occurred in the prosecution.[specify][13] On 9 October, Mr Justice Goldring sentenced the brothers to eight years in youth custody for manslaughter.[14]

Although it was widely reported in the media that Taylor's parents were unhappy at the sentences, Goldring explained the sentence was determined by the age of the offenders at the time and that there was no evidence to suggest that there was premeditation. In addition, the bottle used had not been carried to the scene of the crime.[citation needed]


In May 2001, Richard and Gloria Taylor established the Damilola Taylor Trust in their son's memory, and which campaigns against knife crime.[15] Richard Taylor also dedicated his life to campaigning to improve the lives of disadvantaged children.[16] In 2008, Richard Taylor organised a march against knife crime which took place in central London and was attended by several thousand young people, and led by Brooke Kinsella, whose brother, Ben Kinsella, was stabbed to death.[17] In 2009, Richard Taylor was appointed as an anti-knife crime and youth violence envoy by Prime Minister Gordon Brown,[18] and was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours for his services to campaigning for youth charities.[19][20] Gloria died from a heart attack in April 2008;[21] Richard died on 23 March 2024 from prostate cancer.[22][23]

Ricky Preddie was released on parole in September 2010, but recalled to prison in March 2011 for breaking the terms of his parole. He was released from prison again in February 2012.[24] In February 2020, Ricky Preddie (also known as Ricky Johnson) was again jailed. He had driven his car into a police officer, leaving her with serious injuries. Preddie pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving; driving whilst disqualified; failing to stop; and driving without insurance. He was imprisoned for four years for the crimes, following a 12 year ban from driving.[25]


Ricky Gavin Preddie (b. 1987) and Danny Charles Preddie (b. 1988) were born in a broken home, in Peckham, South London.

Their father, Alfred, was a boxer from Jamaica, who came to the UK in the 1960s. He later died in 2004, at the age of 53.

From a young age, the Preddie brothers were involved in criminal activities and joined the Peckham Boys gang in 1997, aged 10 and 9.

A year before Damilola's death, the brothers were accused of sexually assaulting two females, at a park in 1999.

In popular culture[edit]

Children's author Beverley Naidoo recalled how when she went to accept the Smarties Silver Award for her book The Other Side of Truth (2000), about two Nigerian child refugees, she heard the news of Taylor's death. As a result, she organized an ongoing donation of 10p to the Refugee Council from every book sold.[26]

Writer Stephen Kelman was nominated for the 2011 Man Booker Prize for his debut novel Pigeon English, inspired in part by the Taylor killing.[27]

Actor John Boyega, then 8 years old, and his older sister Grace were among the last people to see Taylor alive. They were friends and the Boyegas helped watch him.[clarification needed][28][29]

The BBC programme Panorama aired a special on the death of Taylor in April 2002.[30] A 90-minute BBC dramatization of the events leading to his death and his family's search for justice, Damilola, Our Loved Boy, premiered in November 2016[31] and won the BAFTA Award for a single drama.[32]

In Black History Month 2020, Capital XTRA presenter Yinka Bokinni, a friend of Taylor, hosted a documentary about him for Channel 4 titled Damilola: The Boy Next Door.[33]

In 2020, 7 December was declared Day of Hope to mark two decades since Taylor's killing.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allen, Nick (9 April 2008). "Damilola Taylor's mother Gloria dies". The Telegraph.
  2. ^ McGreevy, Ronan (19 January 2001). "Rest in peace, Damilola". Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Friends remember Damilola Taylor 10 years after killing". BBC News. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  4. ^ "Damilola Taylor: What lessons have been learnt 20 years on?". BBC News. 27 November 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d "Damilola Taylor: Timeline". BBC News. 9 August 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  6. ^ a b c Stubley, Peter (2010). "Damilola Taylor: Welcome to modern Britain". Court News UK. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Doctors disagreed over how Damilola was wounded". The Guardian. 25 April 2002. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Damilola trial ends in acquittals". CNN. 25 April 2002. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  9. ^ West-Knights, Imogen (24 March 2022). "The queen of crime-solving". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  10. ^ Graff, Vincent (4 April 2015). "DNA of a killer". Radio Times. pp. 24–27.
  11. ^ "'Fall on glass killed Damilola'". BBC News. 7 March 2006.
  12. ^ Tendler, Stewart (10 August 2006). "His killers were street children, fearless and brutal with no remorse". The Times. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008.
  13. ^ "Damilola case 'exposed legal flaws'". BBC News. 9 December 2002. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Eight years for Damilola killers". BBC News. 9 October 2006.
  15. ^ "Damilola Taylor: Murdered schoolboy's father Richard Taylor dies". Manx Radio. 23 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  16. ^ "Father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor dies aged 75 following long illness". The Independent. 23 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  17. ^ "Campaigner Richard Taylor, father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor, dies". Bracknell News. 23 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  18. ^ "Envoy role for Damilola's father". BBC News. BBC. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  19. ^ "The Queen's New Year's Honours List 2011" (PDF). Southwark Council. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  20. ^ "Violent crime 'struggle' earns Damilola Taylor father OBE". Evening Standard. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  21. ^ "Mother of stabbed Damilola dies". BBC News. BBC. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  22. ^ "Damilola Taylor: Murdered schoolboy's father Richard Taylor dies". Sky News. 23 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  23. ^ "Campaigning dad of Damilola Taylor dies". BBC News. BBC. 23 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  24. ^ "Damilola's killer freed from prison". Belfast Telegraph. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  25. ^ "Schoolboy killer jailed for driving at police officer". Harrow Times. 22 February 2020.
  26. ^ Hope, Julia (2017). Children's Literature About Refugees: A Catalyst in the Classroom. UCL/IOE Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-85856-696-2.
  27. ^ "Stephen Kelman: 'I feel that I've gatecrashed the Booker Prize shortlist'". The London Evening Standard, 7 September 2011.
  28. ^ "Star Wars' John Boyega was one of last people to see Damilola Taylor alive, says father". The Guardian. Press Association. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Damilola Taylor: 'One of the last people to see him alive'" (video, 2 min 17 sec). BBC News. 27 November 2020.
  30. ^ "Damilola film makes shortlist". BBC. 2003. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  31. ^ McIntosh, Steven (7 November 2016). "Damilola Taylor: TV drama tells the story behind the headlines". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  32. ^ "Single Drama - DAMILOLA, OUR LOVED BOY". BAFTA. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  33. ^ Jones, Ellen E. (28 October 2020). "Damilola: The Boy Next Door review – the powerful truth behind the headlines". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  34. ^ Robson, Steve (23 March 2024). "Campaigning father of Damilola Taylor dies after 'battle with prostate cancer'". Retrieved 23 March 2024.


External links[edit]