Damilola Taylor: true story behind Channel 4 documentary about the murdered schoolboy - and what happened to killers Danny and Ricky Preddie

Damilola: The Boy Next Door stars the victim’s childhood friend and DJ Yinka Bokinni

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 2:15 pm
(Photo: Bwp Media/Getty Images)

A new documentary exploring the story of murdered 10-year-old, Damilola Taylor, is being broadcast on Channel 4 tonight (28 October), marking the 20th anniversary of his death.

DJ and Capital Xtra presenter Yinka Bokinni has teamed up with emerging film director Ashley-Francis Roy to create Damilola: The Boy Next Door, a deeply personal, poignant and reflective documentary.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

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(Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

What happened to Damilola Taylor?

10-year-old Damilola Taylor was killed on 27 November 2000.

He was on his way back home from Peckham Library when he was stabbed in the leg with a broken bottle on a dank concrete stairwell. He died in hospital from the wounds.

The death of the youngster, who had only been in Britain for three months after moving with his family from Nigeria, shocked the nation.

Danny (L) and Ricky Preddie (Photos: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

Taylor was rapidly elevated from crime victim to national martyr and a photograph of him warmly smiling and radiating innocence became a cultural touchstone as the issue of street crime and gang violence hit the front pages.

Were his killers ever found?

After a long investigation, four teenagers were brought to trial at the Old Bailey in June 2001. However, the process turned out to be a fiasco and the accused walked free.

Detectives doggedly continued looking for new leads, and eventually three new suspects appeared in court on charges of manslaughter in 2006.

One of them was eventually found not guilty, but the other two – brothers Daniel and Ricky Preddie, who were aged just 12 and 13 at the time of the crime – were convicted and sentenced to eight years in youth custody.

What happened to Danny and Ricky Preddie?

It was widely reported in the media at the that Taylor's parents were unhappy with the shortness of the sentences, but the judge went to some lengths to explain the factors he had to take into account.

These included the age of the offenders at the time, and that there was no evidence to suggest that there had been a plan to kill Taylor; the bottle used had not been carried to the scene of the crime.

Ricky was released on parole in September 2010 having served half of his sentence, but was recalled six months later having been seen in Peckham and for associating with gang members, both contrary to his parole conditions.

Danny was released from prison in 2011 after being given early release for serving five years of his eight year sentence.

Ricky was released again in January 2012, but was recalled to prison just 16 days later after again associating with gang members in Peckham. His next release came in July 2012, but Ricky was jailed again in December 2013 for five months following a high-speed chase on a stolen motorbike.

In November 2017, he was jailed again for six weeks for driving offences, and for an additional four weeks for failing to appear at his court hearing.

He currently remains in prison, having been jairled in February 2020 for four years for driving into a female police officer.

There appears to be no reports of Danny having returned to prison since 2011.

Who is Yinka Bokinni?

Not only is DJ and Capital Xtra presenter Yinka Bokinni an influential voice across the UK hip-hop, grime and R&B scene, she is a childhood friend of ‘Dami’.

In the new film, she discusses the impact of the tragic event for the first time, exploring the devastating impact Taylor’s death had on her community, her area, and the lives of almost everyone she knew.

“I’ve never spoken about the murder of my childhood friend until now,” she says. “ I have lived my life with so many questions about what happened and why it happened in the place that I called home.

"To finally be telling the story feels both therapeutic and scary, but I am ready to share this side of the story. Hopefully everyone will get to know the real Damilola, as he lived, a bit better.”

The Boy Next Door sees Bokinni meet childhood friends and local kids who grew up to do amazing things, like Top Boy star Ashley Walters, Cornelius Walker (who told his own Taylor-inspired story in the Oscar-nominated Black Sheep), and music producer Tinyman, the last person to see Taylor on the day he died.

The “notorious” North Peckham Estate where the crime took place was once hailed as the finest estate in the whole of Europe, but had been shorthand for gangs, drugs and violence since the 1980s.

But for the families who lived there, it was home to a warm and loving community, and Bokinni tries to understand how the estate she remembers so fondly from her childhood was presented in the media as a crime-ridden “sink estate”.

When can I watch it?

Damilola: The Boy Next Door will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday 28 October.

Fozia Khan, Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 documentaries says: “Damilola Taylor died 20 years ago, but the questions Yinka asks and reflects on have never felt more timely.”