Family of Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens warn young people about knife crime and gang culture
Relatives of a teenager killed in Ipswich have issued a warning to young people about becoming involved in knife crime and gang culture and called for more to be done to stop violence in the town.
Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was fatally wounded in an attack in Packard Avenue earlier this month. The 17-year-old’s death sparked a huge police investigation.
Now his stepmother Helen Forbes and aunt Sinead Brown have said the family did all they could to help him.
They told the BBC: “We knew, you know, as a family. We spoke to Tavis, we tried to guide Tavis.
“We tried to guide him. He had jobs, through other family members, we tried everything with Tavis.”
Only a week after the attack on Mr Spencer-Aitkens, a man in his 20s was stabbed more than 10 times by a gang in Pauline Street.
Two days later, police were called to reports of a stabbing at Ravenswood McDonald’s.
His stepmother said: “Knife crime is not the way forward, don’t be persuaded that it’s a better life forward, it’s not a better life.
“Children are frightened and scared to talk. He was beautiful and would do anyting for his family.”
His aunt added: “We tried every- thing with Tavis. I learnt something with all of this. They don’t get a choice. They get chosen. He tried many times to tell me that. I did not get it but I do now. He was my shadow and wherever I was he was always there.”
They added: “How can we stop it (the violence)? Children are frightened, they are scared to talk, I feel the youth today are scared.”
Police said they are not currently linking the three incidents.
READ MORE: Time and venue for follow-up public meeting in wake of stabbing tragedy
Aristote Yenge, 22, of no fixed abode, and a 16-year-old boy from Colchester have both appeared in court charged with Mr Spencer-Aitkens’ murder.
Both appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on June 6 and will remain in custody until a plea hearing on July 27.
A 41-year-old man, 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old man were released on bail until July 4 after being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.
A 36-year-old woman from Essex was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender on Tuesday, June 5, and was later released under investigation.
Another man, 23, and a 17-year-old man were arrested on Wednesday, June 6, on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. They were released on bail until Friday, June 29.
Rishawn Mohammed, 18, of Hurricane Place in Ipswich, appeared in court on Monday charged in connection with the incident at Ravenswood McDonald’s.
He was remanded in custody ahead of his next court appearance.
A 17-year-old boy from Ipswich, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also charged in connection with the Ravenswood incident.
He is due to appear before a youth panel of magistrates tomorrow.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old man and a 22-year-old man have both been released under investigation by Suffolk Constabulary in connection with the alleged Ravenswood attack, pending further enquiries.
Advice for parents and young people
Suffolk Constabulary issued a series of warnings to parents and young people involved in gang culture.
For parents they say be on the look-out for signs that suggest your child may be involved in a gang including gang symbols on schoolbooks, pencil cases, bags, bedroom posters and personal posses-sions.
Sometimes hand signals are given by individuals to show which gang they are aligned to and young people often align themselves to postcodes.
For young people if you feel you’re pressured to join a gang or carry out tasks for gang members it’s important that you stay strong.
Joining a gang could ruin your future.
To help avoid getting caught up in gang culture, avoid associating with gang members or “wannabe” gang members and don’t hang out where you know they’re likely to be.
Gang life might seem glamorous but you’re putting yourself and your family members in danger.
For more help and information go to www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/gangs-information-and-advice