Murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor's brutal, mysterious death revisited in BBC film

Lucia Binding
damilola taylor

It was the murder trial that broke the nation's heart back in 2000; 10-year-old Damilola Taylor's death became one of the UK's most high-profile killings.

The tragedy – which saw several young boys cleared of murder charges after a lengthy trial and two brothers convicted of manslaughter – will be explored in tonight's TV pick, Damilola, Our Loved Boy.

The feature-length drama lasts for an hour-and-half from 8.30pm on BBC1 (7 November), and divulges the personal stories behind the headlines.

It looks into Nigerian-born Damilola's journey from Lagos to London before being murdered in a filthy stairwell of a block of south London flats.

The boy, who arrived in the UK with his mother and siblings from Nigeria, was a boisterous character who loved football. Details surrounding his grievous leg wound that killed him as he was making his way home from computer club are still shrouded in mystery.

The subtle film, written by Levi David Addai, is full of both anger and compassion. It will make viewers' hearts melt as they watch Damilola's parents, Gloria and Richard Taylor (Wunmi Mosaku and Babou Ceesay) cope with the devastating impact of their son's murder.

The family fights for justice and Richard becomes consumed with anger – turning inward and pushing everyone away. Damilola's elder brother Tunde (Juwon Adedokun) feels like he is being blamed for the murder.

On the night of his death – 27 November 2000 – Damilola set off from Peckham Library at 4:51pm and was captured on CCTV making his way home. He received a gash to his left thigh while approaching North Peckham Estate and ran into a stairwell where he collapsed and almost bled to death in the space of 30 minutes. He was still alive when he was taken to hospital in an ambulance, but tragically died shortly after.

While the police followed procedure with regards to collecting evidence, lapses occurred in the prosecution and much has been documented on the subsequent court cases, retrials and manslaughter sentencing.

This BBC drama focuses more on how the family coped with the stress and how the fight to bring Damilola's killers to justice affected relationships within.

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