|Birth: ||Dec. 7, 1989, England|
|Death: ||Nov., 2000, England|
Police face costs of Damilola blunders
LONDON- Major forensic blunders made during the Damilola Taylor investigation have forced police to begin re-examining other cases to see if similar mistakes were made, as the government ordered a probe into what went wrong.
Two brothers, Danny and Ricky Preddie, were found guilty on Wednesday of killing 10-year-old Damilola in south London in November 2000.
Two scientists at the Forensic Science Service (FSS), a Home Office agency, missed Damilola's bloodstains -- one of which was clearly visible to the human eye -- on the brothers' clothes during the initial police investigation.
The brothers had been among the first to be arrested in the days following Damilola's death, but they were released and the inquiry moved elsewhere after the news there was no forensic evidence linking them to the crime.
The bloodstains were only discovered when a new investigating officer decided to re-examine all the available evidence after the collapse and acquittal of four youths following a botched trial in 2002.
The new findings helped secure the conviction of the two brothers for manslaughter.
"We can only go where the evidence appears to take us," Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates said.
The court heard how scientist Sian Hedges and a supervisor at the FSS, Owen Gayle, were unable to explain how they came to miss the evidence during Kastle-Meyer tests -- chemical tests used to detect blood.
While positive results are double checked, no one re-examines negative tests.
So startling were the mistakes that London's Metropolitan Police and other forces across the country that used the FSS are now having to go over old cases to see if other such errors had been made.
"We have looked at some cases," Yates said. "We are looking at possible cases where there may be implications."
"Clearly things were missed in the first investigation."
He said the cases would include both those that had failed to reach court and those where suspects had been acquitted, requiring them to be submitted to the Court of Appeal for a possible re-trial.
Home Office minister Joan Ryan said an independent inquiry would be carried out into what had happened at the FSS.
"The Board of the Forensic Science Service Ltd is in full agreement with this decision," Ryan said in a statement.
"The review will be led by a QC (senior lawyer) and leading forensic scientist and will report in the autumn."
Brothers guilty of Damilola killing
The killers of schoolboy Damilola Taylor have been brought to justice - six years and three trials after his death.
An Old Bailey jury took a day to convict the Preddie brothers - Ricky, 19, and Danny, 18 - of his manslaughter.
They were arrested a few days after 10-year-old Damilola bled to death after being cut with a broken bottle near his home in Peckham, south London, on November 27, 2000.
Brothers guilty of killing Damilola
Brothers Ricky and Danny Preddie were just 13 and 12 when they killed ten-year-old Damilola Taylor
Two brothers have been found guilty of killing Damilola Taylor with a broken bottle in the third trial about the ten-year-old's death.
Danny, 18, and Ricky Preddie, 19, denied manslaughter of the schoolboy who bled to death on the stairwell of a housing estate in Peckham, south London.
Prosecutors alleged one of the Preddies thrust the broken glass into Damilola's leg as he walked home from an after-school computer club in November 2000.
But the defence called Alistair Wilson, clinical director at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, to say the fatal gash could have been the result of an accident.
An hour after the jury retired yesterday, they asked to see the cut in Damilola's trousers and a defence reproduction of the broken glass that caused it. Today they convicted the Preddies of manslaughter.
They will be sentenced in two weeks.
The Peckham brothers, who were only 12 and 13 at the time of the killing, were cleared of murder and assault in April. But a retrial for manslaughter was ordered after the jury failed to reach a verdict on the lesser charge.
Laboratory staff first failed to spot a bloodstain matching Damilola's DNA on the heel of Danny Preddie's trainer.
The clues only came to light in a second investigation after four teenagers - not the Preddies - were acquitted in 2002 of murdering Damilola.
The ten-year-old's blood was also found on a T-shirt in Ricky Preddie's bedroom cupboard.
The forensic evidence amounted to a "compelling case" against the brothers, prosecutor Victor Temple QC said.
However, the defence said the stained trainer was too small for Danny Preddie to wear at the time.
In another testimony, a 21-year-old witness who cannot be named claimed Ricky Preddie had confessed to the killing.
The witness said Preddie, intoxicated with cannabis, told him after Damilola's death: "Yeah man, I did it."
"Today justice has finally been reached for Damilola," said Commander Dave Johnston, Head of Homicide and Serious Crime.
"His violent death in 2000 sent shockwaves throughout London and beyond. For his family it was a very personal tragedy played out in a very public arena."
The Met said the two investigations cost them £4 million. The total bill, including the cost of the three trails, is estimated at £16 million.
Gloria Olusola Taylor (____ - 2008)
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Greater London, England
Created by: MadameB (inactive)
Record added: Aug 09, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 15196315