Thursday 29 September 2016

Star Wars actor John Boyega 'one of the last people to see Damilola Taylor alive', reveals tragic youngster's father

Published 23/12/2015 | 07:27

John Boyega attending the Star Wars: The Force Awakens European premiere in Leicester Square, London
John Boyega attending the Star Wars: The Force Awakens European premiere in Leicester Square, London
Damilola Taylor was stabbed in the thigh with a broken bottle in 2000

Star Wars actor John Boyega was one of the last people to see Damilola Taylor alive, the schoolboy's father has said.

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Peckham-born Boyega, 23, who plays ex-stormtrooper Finn in The Force Awakens has nominated the Damilola Taylor Trust as one of the causes to share £1.35million from the charitable initiative Star Wars: Force for Change, the Daily Mirror reported.

Damilola Taylor was stabbed in the thigh with a broken bottle in 2000
Damilola Taylor was stabbed in the thigh with a broken bottle in 2000

Damilola's death in November 2000, when he was 10, shocked the nation.

His father Richard Taylor has said Boyega and his sister Grace were with his son shortly before he was stabbed.

Mr Taylor told the Mirror: "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.

"Grace became so close to Damilola - it was almost like boyfriend and girlfriend."

He added: "They were the last to see him. 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."

Mr Taylor told the newspaper: "Recently there was an email from the US saying that John had nominated the Damilola Taylor Trust to receive a donation from the film's launch.

"I was overwhelmed. It filled me with joy."

He said Boyega's success makes him wonder about how his own son's future could have unfolded.

"I thought: 'Oh wow, Damilola could have been working with him as an actor.'

"Damilola was acting in primary school - in Christmas plays, school plays, reciting poems and all that kind of thing."

Damilola had moved to Britain from Nigeria a few months before he was jabbed in the thigh with a broken beer bottle by a gang of youths as he walked home from the local library after school.

The youngster was found bleeding to death in a stairwell near his home in Peckham, south London, where local workmen tried to save his life.

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