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Lawyer says case against Tavis murder accused based on 'assumptions and guesswork'

PUBLISHED: 07:30 23 February 2019

Tributes left in memory of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens after the stabbing in Packard Avenue, Ipswich   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tributes left in memory of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens after the stabbing in Packard Avenue, Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A 23-year-old drug dealer accused of murdering Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was not part of the group that carried out the fatal attack, it has been claimed.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens   Pictire: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYTavis Spencer-Aitkens Pictire: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

In his closing speech to the jury on behalf of Aristote Yenge, Graham Parkins QC claimed the prosecution case against his client was “in large measure” based on assumptions and guesswork.

He said one of these was that a jumper worn by Yenge when he was seen in a van earlier on the afternoon of the attack on Tavis was being worn by him and not someone else when the van dropped Tavis’s alleged killers in Packard Avenue several hours later.

Mr Parkins said if Yenge had been part of a planned attack on Tavis he wouldn’t have chosen to wear such a distinctive jumper and he must have left his jumper in the van and someone else put it on.

Turning to Yenge’s blood being found on a seatbelt buckle in the van Mr Parkins said this could be because he cut himself on a tin can earlier in the afternoon.

He said Yenge claimed he wasn’t a member of the J Block gang which was accused of carrying out the attack on Tavis but if the jury found Yenge was affiliated to J Block it didn’t automatically mean he took part in the attack on Tavis.

Mr Parkins reminded the jury there wasn’t any telephone evidence to link Yenge with any calls made to “round up” J Block members to go to Nacton on the afternoon of Tavis’s death.

He accused Yenge’s co-defendant Leon Glasgow of lying when he claimed Yenge was in the van when it went to Packard Avenue.

Yenge, of Spring Road, Ipswich, Adebayo Amusa, 20, of Sovereign Road, Barking, Callum Plaats, 23, of Ipswich, Isaac Calver, 19, of Firmin Close, Ipswich, a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified, and Leon Glasgow, 42, of no fixed address have denied murdering Tavis on June 2.

During the final part of his closing speech to the jury, prosecution counsel Oliver Glasgow QC claimed that more than one knifeman could have inflicted Tavis’s wounds.

He said that as the attack only lasted a few seconds the 15 stab wounds could have been inflicted by more than one person.

He said Tavis had suffered a number of deep wounds to his back and chest including a fatal injury to his heart.

“The only reason to stab someone so many times in the back and chest is that you want to cause them as much harm as you could possibly do,”he said.

“If you think about how Tavis was chased and then attacked upon the ground it looks as if he was stabbed before he fell to the floor, which would explain the stab wounds to his back and that once on the ground he tried to protect himself by warding off the knife with his arms and bringing up his legs.

“Evidently whoever attacked him was not willing to let him escape with just a few stab wounds… they wanted to finish the job, which explains the fatal wound which cut through the costal cartilage and passed 13cm into his chest cavity before penetrating his heart.

“Obviously you cannot tell when that was caused in the sequence but there can be only one reason for stabbing someone so many times and for stabbing them in the chest: you want to cause them as much harm as you possibly can, and whoever wielded the knife that caused the fatal wound succeeded because, from the moment it was inflicted, Tavis was a dead man walking.

“Given the number of wounds, the different types, the different positions, the different widths, the different depths, and the different angles of the knife, were those 15 injuries all inflicted by the same knife?”

Mr Glasgow said the pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Tavis could not tell whether more than one blade was responsible.

He said the use of a bottle that was smashed down onto Tavis’s head told the jury all they needed to know about his attackers.

“He had been repeatedly stabbed and was defenceless on the ground but, rather than run away satisfied with a job well done, the person who had hold of that bottle went back for one final act of vicious violence,” said Mr Glasgow.

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