Father of Damilola Taylor, Richard, dies aged 75

Richard Taylor, the father of Damilola Taylor, who was killed 24 years ago, has died aged 75.

Damilola was aged just 10 when he was stabbed in the leg by a group of hooded attackers and left to die on November 27, 2000. 

His father, a Nigerian former civil servant, dedicated his life to campaigning against youth crime, sending out a positive message in the face of his heartbreak and the misrepresentation of deprived areas.

Mr Taylor died on Saturday, after battling prostate cancer.

A statement on behalf of the family said: “It is with a heavy heart that the family announce the death of our beloved father, grandfather and uncle, Mr Richard Adeyemi Taylor OBE, who sadly passed away in the early hours of Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer.”

Following Damilola’s death, Mr Taylor and his wife, Gloria, set up the Damilola Taylor Trust to campaign against knife crime.

Damilola Taylor’s father, Richard, with his wife, Gloria, outside the Old Bailey after the Preddie brothers were convicted of his manslaughter (Picture: PA)

On December 7, 2020, on the day his son would have turned 31, Mr Taylor said: “The 20 years passed so quickly and yet it still seems like yesterday.

“Every anniversary brings back painful memories.

“There have been many happier highlights though, in these past two decades.

“So many wonderful young people the Damilola Taylor Trust has worked with.”

Among those paying tribute to Mr Taylor over the weekend was Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer 

Sir Keir posted on X: “Richard championed breaking down barriers to opportunity through the Damilola Taylor Trust, in honour of his son’s memory.

“He will be remembered for his courage, determination and message of hope. My condolences to Richard’s family and friends.”

The coffin of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor leaving All Saints church in Plumstead after his funeral/Damilola Taylor (Picture: PA/The Met)

The legacy of the little boy who died on his own in a Peckham stairwell is one that will stay with many.

Damilola had been walking home from his computer club at Oliver Goldsmith’s Primary School past Peckham library when he was attacked with a broken bottle.

CCTV footage from the night shows him skipping home, smiling – but just minutes later he was bleeding to death in a stairwell on the now-demolished North Peckham Estate.

He died within 30 minutes – 10 days short of his 11th birthday.

After three crown court trials, his killers were jailed in 2006. The brothers – Ricky and Danny Preddie – were sentenced to serve eight years in youth custody. They were given early release in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Damilola Taylor (Picture: The Met)

Mr Taylor was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his crusade against violent crime. He also set up the Hope Collective, a collaboration between charities, organisations and local authorities to improve the lives of young people across the UK.

On December 7, 2020, the collective launched the Day of Hope in memory of Damilola. 

Ahead of the launch, Mr Taylor said: “(This is) a day when the whole youth sector comes together to show the importance of society collaborating to give young people hope that they can achieve their dreams. 

“It is going to become an annual event – every year on December 7. My Damilola sadly did not get to realise his own dream to become a doctor, but now his legacy is truly one of hope.”

Pictured top: Richard Taylor, the father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor (Picture: PA)

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