Teenager found guilty of Ipswich murder
PUBLISHED: 15:46 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:46 21 August 2019
A Suffolk teenager has been found guilty of murdering a 32-year-old man who was fatally stabbed in an alleyway in Ipswich.
The 17-year-old from Bury St Edmunds, who cannot be named because of his age, had denied murdering Daniel Saunders on December 16 last year but was unanimously convicted by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court this afternoon after a six-week trial.
Also before the court were five 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, 33, of Appleton Mews, Colchester; a 16-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds, and a 17-year-old boy from Colchester.
During the trial the court heard that two of the defendants, including the killer, bought a machete and a large knife from a shop in Southend the day before the killings.
They had been assisted by Durojaiye, who vouched for their ages.
Simon Spence QC, prosecuting, said the murderer and Gosbell were 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 that the pair went to a temporary base at a Premier Inn hotel, in Colchester, in order to get the weapons bought in Southend, after another Rico and Frank dealer claimed two days before Mr Saunders's death that he had tried to rob him of drugs.
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On December 16 the murderer encountered Mr Saunders and his friend Ben Wright and Mr Wright had bought a wrap of heroin and crack cocaine from him.
During the meeting Mr Wright told the youth that Mr Saunders hadn't been involved in the attempted robbery.
Mr Spence said: "What happened thereafter, Mr Wright didn't see, but there was an altercation and he heard his friend cry out. He saw Mr Saunders running away, in his words, with his guts out.
"Having fatally injured Mr Saunders, he then ran towards Mr Wright, who ran away in fear."
Mr Saunders died from catastrophic blood loss as a result of a stab wound - from a blade thought to measure 30cm - causing serious damage to internal organs and blood vessels.
The teenager then fled to the Premier Inn, where the 16-year-old defendant handed an unwitting cleaner a bag of his clothing to be disposed of.
Before leaving for a mobile home belonging to Jadeja's mother, in St Osyth, the teenager could be seen on CCTV, in the company of the 16-year-old, 'mimicking' the stabbing by clutching his left side, said Mr Spence.
On December 18, the 17-year-old, Gosbell and Jadeja returned to collect £270 from the Griffin Court flat, where the occupant told police Gosbell joked about the stabbing by falling to his knees, clutching his stomach and saying "give me half a gram".
Two days later, the killer and the 16-year-old boy were arrested in possession of a sword-type weapon and a machete at the St Osyth caravan park, where a taxi was found to contain the other 17-year-old, a large Bowie knife, and a bag containing crack cocaine and heroin, while Jadeja was found inside the caravan along with a large machete.
In April, the killer told police that Mr Saunders and Mr Wright had tried to rob him in the alleyway, and that he had grabbed a knife being carried by Mr Wright and stabbed Mr Saunders in self-defence.