Damilola Taylor: Supplementary Note

The death of ten year old Damilola Taylor sent shock waves throughout British society. At the time there was some evidence that his killer(s) was/were black. Subsequently, four juveniles were charged with his murder; although they weren’t black, they weren’t exactly white either, but they couldn’t be properly identified for legal reasons. They were all cleared of any involvement in his death.

The most interesting facet of this case (for the current writer) was that at trial, defence Counsel, the black QC Courtenay Griffiths, argued that Damilola had not in fact been stabbed but that his death was simply a tragic, and possibly self-inflicted, accident. This suggestion has been largely pooh-poohed, but it remains a distinct possibility; Damilola’s dying words were that he was okay, not that X had stabbed him. Regardless of this, a murder charge had always seemed to me to be over the top, in view of the age of the defendants, and the nature of the stab wound. Certainly this case is not comparable with the much over-hyped 1993 murder of 18 year old Stephen Lawrence.

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