Four charged with Damilola murder

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Four teenagers were charged yesterday with the murder of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor in Peckham, south-east London.

The four, one aged 14, two aged 15 and one aged 16, were charged after the case was considered by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Damilola, who was born in Nigeria and had only recently arrived in Britain, bled to death in a stairwell on the North Peckham council estate in November last year. He had dragged himself 100 yards after being stabbed in the leg as he returned home from an after-school computer club. Police mounted a huge investigation into his death, involving a team of 80 officers.

The teenagers will appear today at West London Youth Court. Scotland Yard said the 16-year-old was of African origin, the 14-year-old was mixed race and the 15-year-olds were of Mediterranean origin. They were among 11 boys arrested for questioning last December.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Shepherd, who is leading the investigation, said the four were arrested yesterday by detectives from the Metropolitan Police's serious crime group. He thanked people in Peckham for their help in the inquiry but said "much more work" remained and appealed for anyone with information to contact police.

Neil O'May, the solicitor for Damilola's parents, Richard and Gloria Taylor, said they and their children, Tunde and Bemi, were "relieved" at the development in the investigation into the death of "their dear son". He said: "They trust the courts now to ensure that justice is done. The Taylor family continue to ask that anyone who has information about the death of their son, who has not already come forward, to do so now."

Scotland Yard handed a paper naming the four teenagers to the Crown Prosecution Service last month for it to be considered by a senior barrister known as a Treasury counsel.

The CPS has also been given a file on two other boys aged 13 and 14 who are on police bail until next month.