“All she wants for her birthday is to have her daddy back” - court hears of impact on family of murder of Daniel Saunders

Daniel Saunders, 32, who was stabbed to death Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

Daniel Saunders, 32, who was stabbed to death Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE - Credit: Archant

The partner of a man fatally stabbed in an Ipswich alleyway by a Suffolk teenager has described the impact of the killing on their young daughter, and labelled it as “barbaric.”

Forensic officers examining the area of Turin Street and Kenyon Street in Ipswich as part of the mur

Forensic officers examining the area of Turin Street and Kenyon Street in Ipswich as part of the murder investigation Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

In a victim impact statement read to Ipswich Crown Court, Leanne Kazer, the partner of Daniel Saunders and the mother of his five-year-old daughter, said her daughter's sixth birthday next week would be her first without her father.

"All she wants for her birthday is to have her daddy back," she said.

"To hear those words come out of a five-year-old's mouth is heartbreaking.

"I can't fulfill her wishes and I can't take away the turmoil she is suffering."

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She described the attack on Mr Saunders as "completely barbaric" and said there were no words to describe the impact his death had had on his family.

Ms Kazer, who had been in an on-and-off relationship with 32-year-old Mr Saunders for eight years, said his presence would light up a room and described him as having a "big heart."

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She described the attack on Mr Saunders on December 16 last year by Kieran Hayward as "barbaric."

At Ipswich Crown Court on Friday October 4, Judge Martyn Levett lifted a ban on reporting 17-year-old Hayward's name at his sentencing hearing following an application by the Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times on the basis that naming him was in the public interest.

Judge Levett also lifted a similar order on 17-year-old Kieran Elliott, of Stanford Road, Colchester, who was found guilty of assisting Hayward following Mr Saunders' murder. He had denied the charge.

Both Hayward and Elliott will turn 18 next week.

Hayward, formerly of Bury St Edmunds, had denied murdering Mr Saunders but was unanimously convicted by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court in August after a six-week trial.

Also before the court are four other defendants, who denied assisting an offender by disposing of his clothing and harbouring him at a caravan park, but were all found guilty.

They are Arjun Jadeja, 18, of The Nook, Wivenhoe; Benjamin Gosbell, 20, of Gratian Close, Highwoods, Colchester; Olusola Durojaiye, 34, of Appleton Mews, Colchester, and a 16-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds, who cannot be named because of his age.

Hayward, Elliott, Gosbell, Durojaiye and Jadeja will be sentenced on Monday and were remanded in custody. The 16-year-old will be sentenced at a later date.

During the trial, the court heard two of the defendants, including Hayward, bought two machetes from a shop in Southend the day before the killing.

They had been assisted by Durojaiye, who vouched for their ages.

Simon Spence QC, prosecuting, said Hayward and Gosbell had been drug runners for a supply line known as 'Rico and Frank' and had been dealing on the streets of Ipswich from the Griffin Court home of a drug addict with a mounting drug debt.

The court heard the pair went to a temporary base at a Premier Inn hotel in Colchester to get the weapons bought in Southend after another Rico and Frank dealer claimed two days before the murder that Mr Saunders had tried to rob him of drugs.

Mr Saunders suffered a single stab wound to the abdomen in an alleyway behind houses in Turin Street, Ipswich.

He managed to run out of the alleyway into Kenyon Street where he collapsed, before members of the public came to his aid and called an ambulance.

In a statement read to the court Mr Saunders' father, John Saunders, spoke of his son's addiction to drugs and his sadness that he wouldn't get the chance to overcome it and lead a happy life.

Mr Saunders also spoke of his regret that Daniel would never take his son for his first pint on his 18th birthday or walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

Mr Saunders senior described part of him dying when he was told of his son's death and the agony of having to identify his body.

"I lost my son, my mate and part of me," he said.

In her statement, Mr Saunders' mother Anita Osman spoke of her heartbreak at never seeing or hearing her son again.

William Carter QC, for Hayward, asked the court to sentence his client on the basis he had intended to cause Mr Saunders really serious harm but had not intended to kill him.

He said Hayward was aged 13 when he first supplied class A drugs and by the age of 14 was being sent to London to collect them.

"He came into contact at a very young age with older individuals running county lines into Suffolk," said Mr Carter.

He said Hayward, who was aged 17 years and two months at the time of the killing, came from a "thoroughly decent family" and had been exploited by others.

Stephen Rose, for Elliott, said his client was terrified at the prospect of a custodial sentence.

He said there was no evidence that Elliott had been involved in disposing of Hayward's clothes after the killing.

"He will learn from this experience and isn't a lost cause," said Mr Rose.

Daniel Taylor, for Jadeja, said that on the day of the attack his client had only known there had been a stabbing and was not aware Mr Saunders had died.

He said his client's relative youth had been exploited.

Paul Donegan, for Gosbell, said his client had assisted Hayward to leave Ipswich in the aftermath of the stabbing.

The court heard that Durojaiye had served in Afghanistan and had then set up a taxi business in Colchester.

His taxi licence was taken away when he was arrested and he would never be allowed to drive a taxi again.

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