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An Old Bailey court in London, on Wednesday, convicted two brothers, Danny and Rickie Preddie, of the manslaughter of Nigerian-born Damilola Taylor in 2000.....
An Old Bailey court in London, on Wednesday, convicted two brothers, Danny and Rickie Preddie, of the manslaughter of Nigerian-born Damilola Taylor in 2000.
Damilola, who at the time was 10 years old, bled to death from a leg wound in Peckham, south London.
Danny and Rickie, aged 18 and 19, are from Peckham. They will be sentenced at a later date.
The Preddie brothers had been cleared earlier this year of murder and assault.
The brothers, 12 and 13 at the time, were arrested a few days after Damilola was killed. But vital leads were missed by forensic investigators, and so the brothers were questioned and released without charge.
They were re-arrested last year when blood and fibres from Damilola were found on their clothing.
After the verdicts were read out at the Old Bailey retrial on Wednesday, Rickie Preddie shouted at the jury, ”You are corrupt. You are nothing.” He was eventually taken out of court on the order of the judge.
Damilola‘s parents said it was ”great comfort” that justice finally had been done concerning their son. ”We pray his gentle soul can now rest in peace,” they added.
Commander Dave Johnston of the Metropolitan Police said, ”Today justice has finally been reached for Damilola.
”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.”
The jury was told that the brothers had convictions for robbery, some at knifepoint, and witnesses claimed that the brothers had confessed to the killing.
Agency reports said a friend of Damilola, who could not be named for legal reasons, told police he thought Danny Preddie might 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, and then taking a swing at him.
Damilola was surrounded by a gang of youths in Blakes Road, Peckham, on November 27, 2000 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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