Damilola Taylor's killer freed from prison


One of schoolboy Damilola Taylor's killers who was recalled to jail after breaching the terms of his licence has been released.

Ricky Preddie, who was jailed for eight years in 2006 for the manslaughter of the 10-year-old, was originally released in September 2010 but sent back to jail last March for breaking the conditions of his licence.

He was released from Pentonville prison in north London today, sources said.

Preddie was returned to jail last March after being seen in Southwark, south London, and associating with gang members - both against the terms of his release.

Last month, Damilola's father, Richard Taylor, criticised the decision to give an OBE to Chris Preddie, a cousin of the killers.

He said he was "totally against" Mr Preddie being honoured for his work with youths, calling for stricter rules to be brought in over who should be eligible for honours.

Damilola's death in November 2000 shocked the nation.

He had moved to Britain from Nigeria a few months before he was jabbed in the thigh with a broken beer bottle by a gang of youths as he walked home from the local library after school.

The youngster was found bleeding to death in a stairwell near his home in Peckham, south London, where local workmen tried to save his life.

Preddie, and his brother Danny, were convicted of manslaughter and jailed for eight years in October 2006.

Ricky Preddie, 13 at the time of the killing, was charged with his younger brother in 2005 when forensic evidence, missed at the time, revealed tiny blood spots and fibres.

Danny Preddie was released early in September last year after serving five years of his sentence.

Gary Trowsdale, managing director of the Damilola Taylor Trust, said: "We hope that this time Ricky Preddie can keep himself out of trouble and the Probation Service can deliver the support he requires to do so.

"There is, of course, absolutely zero evidence that he has been reformed and, like his brother, he has never shown remorse.

"On this basis, as with every other victims organisation in the country, we do not understand why he was released in the first place.

"What can we do, though? The system is the system, and the system is flawed."

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "The decision to release recalled offenders from custody is made by the independent Parole Board - the body solely responsible in law for determining whether or not prisoners should be released.

"Serious offenders released on licence are subject to a strict set of conditions and controls.

"Examples include a strict curfew and other restrictions on their movements, as well as frequent meetings with their offender manager.

"If they fail to comply with their licence conditions, they are liable to be returned to custody."

She went on: "They will also be managed under the statutory Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa).

"Within Mappa, the police, probation and prison services are required to work together to assess and manage the risks presented by the most dangerous offenders, in order to protect the public."