WATCH - Powerful appeal from family of Ipswich stabbing victim Tavis
PUBLISHED: 00:58 30 June 2018 | UPDATED: 00:58 30 June 2018
Relatives of a teenager who was stabbed to death in Ipswich earlier this month have spoken of their "living nightmare" and urged anyone with information to help bring the killers to justice.
Sharon Box said the death of her son, Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, would haunt her family for the rest of their lives.
Speaking publicly for the first time since her son’s killing, Mrs Box pleaded for help catching those responsible.
“Please come forward so that Tavis can have justice and so that we can have justice as a family,” she said.
“Because there are still people out there who know things.
“Please find the courage, because I know there are people who are scared.
“Tavis was well loved and he didn’t deserve this.
“The people who did this; we need to make sure we get them off the streets.”
Tavis’s aunt Sinade Brown called her nephew’s killers “cowards”.
“To take another life, as cruelly as you did my nephew’s, that’s in you from day one,” she added.
She said the death had left her with a “heart that will never heal”.
Tavis’s mother added: “Its like a living nightmare that you will never wake up from.
“We will live with this for the rest of our lives, the whole family will, we will never get over his death.”
She said she could not comprehend how anyone could have taken her son’s life.
“Some of these youths carry weapons, and they are willing to take a life and the consequences of that and I don’t understand it,” she said.
“Tavis would never have done this to another person – never.”
Tavis was walking home from the shops on the afternoon of Saturday, June 2, when a group of males are reported to have attacked him in Packard Avenue, Nacton.
MORE: Teenager who died after Ipswich stabbing is named locally as Tavis Spencer-Aitkens
The 17-year-old suffered a fatal stab wound and he died later that day in hospital.
The popular teen’s death sent shock waves through the community.
In the days that followed, scores of young people left flowers and messages of farewell beside a tree near to where he was attacked.
His mother said the community’s response had been “amazing”.
“Everyone is rallying around,” she added.
“The community is angry that this is happened and they don’t want it to happen again.”
She said she had been in contact with Roxanne Chudleigh, an Ipswich mother-of-four who set up Ipswich Against Gangs and the Knives Take Lives campaign, printing thousands of posters in the days following Tavis’s death.
MORE: Ipswich mum launches knife campaign to save town’s youngsters from violence
The campaign has sought to reinforce the message about the dangers of carrying knives to young people..
It is a message that Tavis’s family’s fully support.
“Put the knives down,” his mum said.
“If you feel as though you’re hanging around with someone who is no good for you or is going to bring you down, move in a different direction.”
Tavis’s aunt added: “Find a focus, find your dream and follow your dream.
“There’s so much to do in this world.”
The family has also urged other parents to be on the look out for signs their children could be in danger.
“Keep a very close eye on your child, know where they are at all times, or at least try to,” Mrs Box said.
“Keep that contact, keep talking to them.
“Help them to open up.
“Be there for them, let them know they’ve always get someone to talk to.”
Paying tribute to a “funny, loving and kind” young man, Mrs Box said she did not know how she would continue without Tavis.
“I miss cooking for him,” she said.
“I miss giving him a kiss on the cheek and him saying ‘bye mum’.
“I miss everything about him.”
The family said they had been shocked by how many friends Tavis had – and grateful to those who had shown support in the weeks since his death, visiting their home and checking up on his twin brother Tyler.
On Wednesday, they expect big crowds for Tavis’s funeral.
“I don’t think it’s just going to be friends and family,” said Ms Brown.
“It will be the community as well – people who don’t even know Tavis.
“Because this has affected not just our lives but everyone who lives in Ipswich.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Suffolk police major investigation team, by visiting the online portal or by dialling 101 and quoting reference 30192/18.
Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.