Gang member, 18, jailed for stabbing two boys on streets of Ipswich
- Credit: Suffolk Constabulary
A teenage gang member who stabbed two boys, two years apart, while on bail, has been jailed for at least twelve-and-a-half years.
Martell Dacus, 18, of Hardy Crescent, Ipswich, stabbed a 16-year-old boy at least nine times in Landseer Road in August 2017.
On March 11 this year, Dacus stabbed a 17-year-old boy in an alleyway near Marlow Road.
He waited until the eighth day of his trial to admit wounding the 16-year-old with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He used a golf club to take the boy down before stabbing him in the torso and legs - leaving him in intensive care, where half a litre of blood had to be drained from his chest.
Less than a month before the Landseer Road stabbing, on July 29, Dacus pulled out a large kitchen knife and a machete, holding them at arm's length in a fighting stance, when two police officers entered in an alleyway off Kelly Road, where he had been paid £300 to act as a 'minder' for a female drug dealer.
Not until March 2018 was Dacus brought before a youth court and handed a 12-month youth referral order after admitting carrying the weapons and possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.
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Dacus was on bail at the time of the Landseer Road stabbing, which Judge Martyn Levett called a revenge attack on a perceived rival 'Neno' gang member, rumoured to have been involved in an altercation with JBlock members in Cardinal Park the previous evening.
Again, Dacus was on bail for the Landseer Road stabbing when he knifed a boy in the chest without provocation in March this year.
Judge Levett said he had an "entrenched propensity to use knives as weapons" and posed a risk of causing serious harm or death to members of the public.
"I suspect carrying knives was all part of the lifestyle of local gang culture," he added.
He said Dacus was moved between schools, dropped out of training to be an engineer and passed up a career in the army.
"Your offenses are illustrations of how knife crime has blighted our towns and surrounding areas," said Judge Levett.
"You have a seamless thread of violence running through your character."
Dacus must serve 12 years and six months' detention at a Young Offender Institution before having any chance of release on an extended five-year licence.
-Dacus appeared in court on remand, via video link from Norwich prison, displaying a number of injuries, including burns to the face and a cut to the head.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how Dacus had been attacked by another inmate with a kettle of boiling water upon his arrival at the prison.
Joanne Eley, representing Dacus, said his transfer to Norwich prison, rather than Chelmsford prison, had come as a surprise to both her and detectives from Suffolk police, due to the presence of rival 'Neno' gang members in Norwich.
She said Norwich prison was unsafe for members of JBlock because it was home to members of Neno.
Ms Eley said Dacus wished to make a complaint following the attack, which was understood to have happened in the presence of a prison guard.
The cut to his head, Ms Eley told Judge Martyn Levett, would require seven stitches.
-Three others, including one serving life for killing Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, had been sentenced after admitting violent disorder following the Landseer Road attack.
Aristote Yenge, 23, of Spring Road, Mica Lopes 19, of Whitland Close, and Mohammed Semko, 18, of Barnard Square, all accepted chasing the victim but denied involvement in the stabbing, while Stephen Phillips, 64, of Dillwyn Street West, admitted assisting an offender by driving Dacus away.
Yenge, who was ordered to serve at least 25 years of a life sentence in April, after he and four others were convicted of killing 17-year-old Tavis last June, was given an 18 month sentence, concurrent to his life term.
Lopes, Semko and Phillips received 15 month sentences, suspended for 24 months.
Semko and Lopes were also ordered to carry out unpaid work and rehabilitation activity requirement. Phillips was also given rehabilitation activity requirement and a drug rehabilitation order.
-Three days after the stabbing in Landseer Road, police searched the home of Dacus and discovered a knife inside a bag of clothing underneath his bed.
Mohammed Semko's phone was found to contain a number of communications sent and received within 90 minutes of the stabbing.
One text read: "Anyone get cheffed?" (Slang to describe someone being knifed).
The smart phone was also used to search for Ipswich Star and BBC news stories on the stabbing, and to search for the term 'intensive care' and answers to the question 'How many years can you get for attempted murder?'
Following the Marlow Road stabbing, police found another two knives concealed under a mattress in Dacus' bedroom after matching DNA found on the weapon discarded in Bramford Road.
He was said to disappear for long periods from his mother's home, returning only when required to meet a social worker as part of the terms of his referral order.