Exclusive: Richard Taylor on how he mentored Woolwich suspect Michael Adebowala

Richard Taylor OBE has spoken to exclusively to ITV News' Uk Editor Lucy Manning.
Richard Taylor OBE has spoken to exclusively to ITV News' UK Editor Lucy Manning. Photo: ITV News

Richard Taylor OBE, father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor, has spoken exclusively to ITV News about how he mentored Woolwich suspect Michael Adebowala.

He said that he had known Michael since the age of ten.

Mr Taylor added: "He was a young loving boy. Quiet. From there I started to know him, meet him and then suddenly his mum started calling me that she needs help.

"He would come home crying and saying he was being bullied in school, so that made him be reluctant that he was going to school.

"His mother was doing a lot to make sure he goes to school.

"Suddenly I started to hear that he was getting involved in issues around gangs and drugs and I wasn't very happy with that."

Asked about Wednesday's events, Mr Taylor told ITV News: "I was terribly shocked at what I saw that day.

"It's a different Toby or Michael that I was seeing that day. I don't believe it was anything Islamic."

He went on: "Having seen how my own son was stabbed to death, made me feel that... whatever happens, they will still be alive, they will still be on the street or maybe they will take them away from the public or change their faces. They don't deserve to live."

Mr Taylor said he had also known Adebowale's mother, who he said was a probation officer, while he said his father was a representative in the Nigerian High Commission.

ITV News also understands that the older Woolwich suspect, Michael Adebolajo, had a new born baby just a few days before the attack, which is believed to be one of a number of children.

UK Editor, Lucy Manning has this exclusive report: