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Teenage killer jailed for life for brutal Ipswich alleyway murder

PUBLISHED: 16:10 07 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 07 October 2019

From L-R, Kieran Hayward who was convicted of murdering Daniel Saunders and jailed for life. Benjamin Gosbell, Arjun Jadeja and Kieran Elliott who were all convicted of assisting an offender.  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

From L-R, Kieran Hayward who was convicted of murdering Daniel Saunders and jailed for life. Benjamin Gosbell, Arjun Jadeja and Kieran Elliott who were all convicted of assisting an offender. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

A 17-year-old youth from Bury St Edmunds has been ordered to serve a minimum of 19 years of a life sentence for the murder of a father-of-two who was fatally stabbed in an Ipswich alleyway.

Daniel Saunders, 32, who was stabbed to death Picture: SUFFOLK POLICEDaniel Saunders, 32, who was stabbed to death Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

Sentencing Kieran Hayward, Judge Martyn Levett described. the fatal stabbing of Daniel Saunders as a drug related "revenge attack" because he was suspected of robbing a drug runner.

He said that following the attack Hayward had been unremorseful and had jokingly re-enacted the stabbing to friends and mimicked Mr Saunders begging for drugs as he killed him.

He said that a friend of Mr Saunders had seen Hayward holding a sword in the alleyway behind houses in Turin Street immediately before the attack on Mr Saunders and had thought to himself that it looked like a "murder weapon."

Judge Levett said he was satisfied that Hayward hadn't been acting in self-defence when he attacked Mr Saunders.

"You took that blade to the scene and you used it to commit murder," said the judge.

"You have an entrenched pattern of carrying knives," he added.

He said a pathologist had described the amount of force needed to cause the devastating internal injuries to Mr Saunders as "severe".

The judge said the attack hadn't happened on the spur of the moment and he had concluded that the stabbing was "as short as you can get" of a clear intention to kill.

Judge Levett said Hayward had been involved in the supply of class A drugs since he was 13 and had worked his way up the syndicate structure.

He said the background to the case concerned the Rico and Frankie drug syndicate which sold class A drugs in Ipswich.

He said the day before Mr Saunders was stabbed, a drug runner for the syndicate had claimed he was robbed by Mr Saunders and another man.

Hayward had denied murdering 32-year-old Daniel Saunders on December 16 last year but was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court after a six-week trial which ended in August. He admitted having a bladed article.

Four other defendants denied assisting Hayward after the stabbing between December 16 and December 20 by disposing of his clothing and harbouring him at a caravan park but were found guilty.

They are Arjun Jadeja, 18, of The Nook, Wivenhoe; Benjamin Gosbell, 21, of Gratian Close, Highwoods, Colchester; Olusola Durojaiye, 34, of Appleton Mews, Colchester and Kieran Elliott, 17, Stanford Close, Colchester.

Sentencing them Judge Levett said they had acted as a team following the stabbing to protect Hayward as loyal members of a drug syndicate.

"There is no evidence that you tried to get him to turn himself in," said the judge.

He said their assistance included disposing of his clothing and transporting him to a caravan park in St Osyth and hiding him there for four days following the stabbing.

He said they had "stuck together like glue" and had acted out of "misguided loyalty" to a gang member and to slow down the wheels of justice.

Jadeja was sentenced to 30 months detention in a young offenders' institution in his absence after he refused to attend court because he claimed he was unwell.

Durojaiye, a taxi driver who wasn't part of the drug syndicate, was not brought from prison due to an error.

He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years, 250 hours unpaid work and a 15 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Elliott was sentenced to an 18-month detention and training order and Gosbell was jailed for 30 months.

A 16-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds, who was also convicted of assisting Hayward, will be sentenced on October 25.

Last week Judge Levett lifted a ban on reporting Hayward's name - imposed because of his age - following an application by the EADT on the basis that naming him was in the public interest.

Judge Levett also lifted a similar order on Elliott.

Both Hayward and Elliott will be 18 this week.

During the trial the court heard that two of the defendants, including Hayward, bought two machetes from a shop in Southend the day before the killing.

They had been assisted by Durojaiye, who vouched for their ages.

Simon Spence QC, prosecuting, said Hayward and Gosbell had been drug runners for the 'Rico and Frankie drug syndicate 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 had gone 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.

Mr Saunders, who was originally from Surrey, suffered a single stab wound to the abdomen in an alleyway behind houses in Turin Street, Ipswich.

He managed to run out of the alleyway into Kenyon Street where he collapsed before members of the public came to his aid and called an ambulance.

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