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Damilola Taylor: Yinka Bokinni 'denied knowing' childhood friend after death

Yinka Bokinni has revealed she pretended not to know her childhood friend Damilola Taylor after he was stabbed to death at age 10.

The Capital Xtra DJ marked 20 years on from Damilola’s death, as she opened up about her memories of him and the North Peckham estate they both grew up on in Channel 4’s documentary Damilola: The Boy Next Door.

Yinka, 30, recalled that she and Damilola were ‘always together’ and combated the misconception that he didn’t have friends on the estate, arguing that he was ‘one of us’.

However, following his tragic death, she admitted that she denied knowing him for a time, in order to save herself the pain.

‘For a long time, I denied knowing Damilola Taylor, I pretended I didn’t know him,’ Yinka explained, adding that she tried to ‘make it less real’.

She went on to say that she ‘avoided anything to do with Damilola’s death,’ including returning to the place he died.

During the documentary, however, Yinka got in touch with some of her old friends from the estate – some of whom she hasn’t spoken to in decades – to tell the story in the way they remember it, rather than the story that has been retold over the years.

‘Damilola’s death taught us fear and forced us to see the reality of our surroundings,’ she asserted.

‘For 20 years I was ashamed of Peckham and denied even knowing Damilola Taylor.’

Yinka added: ‘I’m not the only one who has been affected by his death, before explaining: ‘I know they had to knock down the North Peckham estate but we all miss what we had there.’

Sharing a different side to Damilola’s personality which hasn’t been shown over the past two decades, Yinka previously revealed on Good Morning Britain: ‘He really fit right in. it’s so important to show this about him because the story about him for the past 20 years doesn’t show that he was one of us, he had friends and we mourned him.

‘It shows that he landed in Peckham and he was killed… I don’t want to focus on the case.’

She later said: ‘He was welcome and he was loved and loud and boisterous and that’s the person that I remember, I don’t remember this victim. I remember my friend.’

Damilola was killed in November 2000.

Brothers Ricky and Danny Preddie – who were 12 and 13 at the time of the killing – were convicted of manslaughter in 2006.

Damilola: The Boy Next Door is available for catch-up on All 4.

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