Star Wars actor John Boyega was with murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor moments before he was fatally stabbed father has revealed.
Star Wars Star, John Boyega, now aged 23, and his sister Grace were the two children seen on CCTV with Damilola moments before his death in November 2000 Damilola’s father, Richard Taylor, has revealed. The youngsters both lived on a tough estate in Peckham, south east London, and Mr Boyega was one of the last people to see Damilola before he was attacked with a broken bottle.
On November 27, just 10 days before his 11th birthday, Damilola left a computer class at Peckham Library and was walking home to his flat on the North Peckham estate when brothers Danny and Ricky Preddie, fatally stabbed him.
The schoolboy – who had only arrived in Britain from Nigeria four months previously was found bleeding to death in a stairwell. Danny and Ricky, aged 12 and 13 at the time, were convicted of his manslaughter six years later. The Boyega family were close to Damilola and his parents, and Grace had looked out for him after he arrived in Britain in 1999.
Mr Taylor said: ‘Damilola and John and Grace were so close. They were looking after him when he arrived in the UK, because they went to school together. ‘The three of them were captured in the CCTV recording that the police used when they asked people to come forward to assist with the investigation. ‘They were the last to see him,’ Mr Taylor said. ‘They wanted to escort him home, but he said he was going to be OK. They left him by the junction then he went around the corner and the gang were waiting for him.’
Speaking in 2010, Mr Boyega’s sister Grace said: ‘After Damilola first arrived at the school I was the one who showed him around and we paired up together. I’d see him at every lunch and break time. ‘He was so bubbly and enthusiastic – always smiling. When the teacher told us that Damilola had died I just couldn’t stop crying. ‘For a long time I kept thinking that maybe I could have been there that I could have followed him to his door and made sure he got in his house. I still feel as if it was yesterday.’
Mr Taylor also revealed Mr Boyega recently nominated the Damilola Taylor Trust as one of the 15 good causes to share £1.35million from the charitable initiative Star Wars: Force for Change. He said he wishes the 23-year-old luck in his film career before adding he is pleased something good has come out of the North Peckham estate.
‘There’s good coming out of the place,’ he said. ‘John’s promoting Peckham, not denying his roots. Damilola would have been doing the same thing.’