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‘The violence has got to stop’ – family of murdered teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens make anguished plea

PUBLISHED: 16:10 06 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:10 06 June 2018

Stepmother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Helen Forbes, and Tavis' mother, Sharon Box, at the press conference.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Stepmother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Helen Forbes, and Tavis' mother, Sharon Box, at the press conference. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Relatives of murdered Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens pleaded for an end to violence in the town and appealed for anyone with information about his death to come forward.

Stepmother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Helen Forbes, and Tavis' mother, Sharon Box, at the press conference.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStepmother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Helen Forbes, and Tavis' mother, Sharon Box, at the press conference. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The 17-year-old, of Pownall Road, was fatally stabbed in an Ipswich street, during daylight hours, on Saturday, June 2.

A press conference at police headquarters – following a sixth arrest as part of the inquiry – heard from the victim’s mother and stepmother, who sat with a childhood photo of Tavis and his twin brother, Tyler.

A statement by his mother, Sharon Box, was read by family liaison officer Jenny Devine, who said: “It has taken everything I have to come here today to appear before the press when the loss of Tavis has so devastated our family.

Press conference at Martlesham HQ regarding the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPress conference at Martlesham HQ regarding the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“The reason I have done so is to appeal for anyone with information about his death to come forward.

“If you know anything or saw what happened on Saturday, I urge you to please contact the police.

“I appreciate you may be concerned yourself, but please understand the pain our family is going through.

Mother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Sharon Box, and DCI Mike Brown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Sharon Box, and DCI Mike Brown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Tavis was our world. He meant everything to us.

“We will remember him as having a lovely soul. He was a well-mannered, polite young man.

“He was cheeky, outgoing, he loved his drill music and was a talented footballer. He was truly loved and is truly missed.

Press conference at Martlesham HQ regarding the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPress conference at Martlesham HQ regarding the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“My darling son Tavis was taken from us unnecessarily, needlessly, and cruelly.

“If anybody witnessed this horrific attack, or heard or saw anything, could they please, please, please come forward.

“Nothing will bring Tavis back. All we have left now are our memories, and all we can do now is to try to help bring those who took his life to justice.

Stepmother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Helen Forbes, speaking at the press conference, supported by family liaison officer Jenny Devine (left). Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStepmother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Helen Forbes, speaking at the press conference, supported by family liaison officer Jenny Devine (left). Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We don’t want any other family to suffer like we are suffering.

“The violence has got to stop.”

Stepmother Helen Forbes choked back tears as attempted to make her statement, which was completed by Jenny Devine, who said: “I echo what Sharon has said and would also plead for anyone with information about Tavis’ death to contact the police.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens who was murdered in Ipswich Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYTavis Spencer-Aitkens who was murdered in Ipswich Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

“You could hold the vital piece in the jigsaw, which could ensure that, at least, the people who did this won’t do this to anyone else.

“Tavis was only 17. He should have had his whole life in front of him. He should have had the chance to have a family of his own.

“Now, due to this senseless violence, everything has been taken away from him and our family.

Tributes are left in memory of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNTributes are left in memory of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“This violence has got to stop before it breaks even more hearts – just like it has broken mine.

“I don’t want other parents and family members to feel the heartache and pain that we are feeling at this time.”

Detective chief inspector Mike Brown urged anyone with information about the killing to “find the courage to get in touch”.

Superintendent Kerry Cutler speaking to the media in Packard Avenue. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSuperintendent Kerry Cutler speaking to the media in Packard Avenue. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

More than 40 officers, specially trained staff and experts have been dedicated to the investigation, which launched after officers were contacted at 4.50pm on Saturday, June 2, to reports of a teenager being stabbed in Packard Avenue.

He was taken to Ipswich Hospital for treatment but died from his injuries. A post-mortem exam concluded that the cause of death was a single stab wound.

Tavis had been walking back from the shops in Queen’s Way when he was approached and attacked by two males on bicycles. They were joined by four or five other males, who further assaulted him before fleeing.

Police presence in Packard Avenue, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice presence in Packard Avenue, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

DCI Brown said: “Having listened to the agony of Sharon and Helen, we do not want any other family to suffer any loss in this way – the violence has got to stop.

“It is clear that Tavis was a young man who was loved dearly by his family and friends and his death is a huge loss to them all.”

He said police understood the distress and anxiety the attack had caused the local community.

Residents can continue to expect to see more officers in coming days, with additional patrols in the area of the attack and across Ipswich, and officers maintaining dialogue with community leaders.

A police pod remains in place near the junction of Packard Avenue and King’s Way.

Police are keen to hear from anyone with CCTV, dash cam or mobile phone footage from the area of Queen’s Way, Packard Avenue, Rands Way or King’s Way, between 12pm and 7.45pm.

If you have information, contact the major investigation team online at mipp.police.uk/operation/804, call 101 and quote reference 30192/18, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

•A 36-year-old woman from Essex was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and questioned by detectives at Martlesham police investigation centre on Tuesday before being released under investigation while enquiries continue.

A 41-year-old man from the Ipswich area was arrested on Saturday evening on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

Four males, aged 16, 18, 20 and 22, all with links to Ipswich, were arrested at an address in Turnstile Square, Colchester on Monday on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

All five suspects remain in custody after detectives applied to magistrates for an additional 24 and 36 hours to question them.

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