Four teenagers charged with Damilola's murder

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Four teenage boys were today charged with the murder of schoolboy Damilola Taylor.

The suspects, one aged 14, two aged 15 and one aged 16, are accused of murdering the 10–year–old, who bled to death in Peckham, south east London, on November 27, last year.

They will appear before magistrates at West London Youth Court tomorrow, police said.

The boys were arrested this morning on the advice of Crown Prosecution Service lawyers and were taken into custody at separate police stations in south London.

One of the suspects is of African origin, one is of mixed race and two are of Mediterranean origin, but they cannot be named for legal reasons.

A police file naming the four suspects was presented to the CPS last month for them to consider whether there was a strong enough case for a prosecution.

The Nigerian–born youngster was on his way home from an after–school computer class when he was attacked.

He bled to death on a stairwell after being stabbed near his home and was pronounced dead on arrival at King's College Hospital in London.

Following the killing, a huge police operation was launched and 60 officers have been working on the case ever since.

CCTV footage was released showing the youngster heading home from the library wearing a knee–length silver–coloured coat.

Officers have since made repeated public appeals for information from local people.

Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Shepherd said: "Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, four juveniles have now been charged with the murder of Damilola Taylor on November 27, 2000.

"I would like to express my thanks to members of the local community, our team of independent advisers and the media, all of whom have helped bring us to this point today.

"There is still much more work to be done and I would repeat my appeal to anyone who has any information to come forward and contact the incident room on 0208 247 4567 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

He said Damilola's parents Richard and Gloria had been kept informed of developments.

Their solicitor, Neil O'May, said: "Mr and Mrs Taylor and their children Tunde and Bemi are relieved to learn of today's developments in the investigation into the death of their dear son, Damilola.

"The last six months have been an extremely anxious time for them.

"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."