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Two brothers found guilty of killing Damilola Taylor


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Both found guilty of manslaughter

 

Brothers guilty of Damilola death

 

Two teenage brothers have been found guilty of killing Damilola Taylor.

 

Danny and Rickie Preddie, aged 18 and 19, from Peckham, south London, were convicted of the manslaughter of the 10-year-old at an Old Bailey retrial.

 

Damilola bled to death from a leg wound in Peckham in 2000. The Preddies will be sentenced at a later date.

 

Damilola's parents said it was "great comfort that justice finally has been done for Damilola. We pray his gentle soul can now rest in peace".

 

The Preddie brothers had been cleared earlier this year of murder and assault.

 

After the verdicts were read out, Rickie Preddie started shouting at the jury.

 

He shouted: "You are corrupt. You are nothing." He was eventually taken out of court on the order of the judge.

 

Six-year trail to conviction

 

The brothers, 12 and 13 at the time, were arrested a few days after Damilola was killed.

 

But vital leads were missed by a forensic laboratory and investigators. The brothers were questioned but released without charge.

 

One was being monitored by the probation service and the other was on bail and detained at a children's home.

 

They were re-arrested last year when the blood and fibres from Damilola were found on their clothing.

 

Commander Dave Johnston, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Today justice has finally been reached for Damilola.

 

Damilola blood spots 'missed'

 

"His violent death in 2000 sent shockwaves throughout London and beyond.

 

"For his family it was a very personal tragedy played out in a very public arena and I would like to acknowledge the courage and dignity with which Gloria and Richard Taylor have supported us throughout the police investigations."

 

Lawyer Tony Connell, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "We are all pleased to have been able to provide justice to the parents, family and friends of Damilola Taylor.

 

"They have borne the dreadful suffering since the death of this fine young man with immense strength and we have all been grateful for their support throughout this case."

 

Robbery convictions

 

The jury was told the brothers had convictions for robbery, some at knifepoint, and witnesses claimed the brothers had confessed to the killing.

 

A friend of Damilola, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police he thought Danny Preddie may have come off worse in a fight with Damilola, who had broken his gold chain.

 

The youth, who is now 18, told the court that he once witnessed Danny asking Damilola if he had a cigarette - then taking a swing at him.

 

Damilola was surrounded by a gang of youths in Blakes Road, Peckham, as he made his way from an after-school club at Peckham library to his home on the run-down North Peckham Estate.

 

Someone broke a small green beer bottle, leaving a shard of glass which was used to stab Damilola in his left thigh. By the time he limped along the road and up two flights of a filthy stairwell, he was near death.

 

At a trial earlier this year the Preddie brothers were cleared of murder but the jury could not decide on the manslaughter charge. The retrial began in June.

 

Another defendant, Hassan Jihad, 20, also from Peckham, was cleared of all charges following the three-month trial held in April.

 

Four other youths, all aged under 18, stood trial at the Old Bailey in 2002 but were found not guilty.

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