Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Damilola killer sent back to jail

Damilola Taylor was 10 years old when he died in Peckham in November 2000

One of the two brothers convicted over the killing of Damilola Taylor has been returned to jail amid accusations of failings by the probation service.

Ricky Preddie, jailed for eight years in 2006 for the manslaughter of the 10-year-old, was sent back to jail after breaking the conditions of his release. It is understood he was arrested on Friday evening and returned to a south London prison after being seen in Southwark, south London, and associating with gang members.

Richard Taylor, Damilola's father, was said to be "deeply upset and disturbed" by the news that Preddie has been returned to jail.

Gary Trowsdale, managing director of the Damilola Taylor Trust, the charity set up by the schoolboy's family, accused the probation service of being "arrogant and self-serving" in its handling of Preddie's release.

Speaking on behalf of the Trust, he said: "The system that was responsible for bringing Ricky Preddie back into society has clearly failed him, the Taylor family and the public at large. Richard Taylor had always asked that the boy should not be released unless he had reformed and shown remorse. This was clearly not the case.

"Given how high profile the case was though in the best interests of the public and all those involved in the ongoing battle against youth crime, we offered to work with the probation system to make sure the boy received the best mentoring available.

"Camila Batmanghelidjh of Kids Company had agreed to help with his mentoring and we approached the probation service via our Borough Commander. They never responded to us. We hope now they will learn a lesson from this and maybe not be so arrogant and self-serving in the future."

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the probation union Napo, said Preddie was ordered to live at a probation hostel on his release from prison last September after serving two thirds of his sentence.

"Other conditions included being of good behaviour, a night-time curfew and a geographical exclusion zone," he said. "It is understood he allegedly breached the exclusion zone on Friday evening and as a consequence was recalled to custody under emergency procedures."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "All offenders subject to probation supervision on release from prison have to adhere to a set of strict conditions... Once an offender has been recalled by the probation service it is then for the police to return them to custody."

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