Old Bailey murder trial hears how horse was bludgeoned to death at Ipswich travellers site

Floral tributes left at the entrance to West Meadows Travellers' Site in the wake of the deaths of N

Floral tributes left at the entrance to West Meadows Travellers' Site in the wake of the deaths of Nathan Oakley and Barry Street. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

An axe-wielding man led a revenge attack in which a horse was bludgeoned to death at an Ipswich traveller’s site where his brother and best friend were killed, the Old Bailey has heard.

Ernest Oakley. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

Ernest Oakley. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE - Credit: Archant

Ernest Oakley, 22, stormed through West Meadows as five other men attacked the horse with planks of wood and burned caravans to the ground.

Oakley was seeking vengeance for the deaths of his 18-year-old brother Nathan and Barry Street, 32, who were stabbed at the site three days earlier, on December 8.

Nelson Smith, 18, who lived at West Meadows, admits stabbing the pair with a red-bladed kitchen knife but claims he was acting in self defence. He has denied murdering the two men and possessing a bladed article.

Smith claims he was defending his family when a dispute row over a vacant pitch at the site spiralled out of control.

His defence barrister Anthony Trollope, QC, suggested the revenge attack following the killings shows that Oakley and his associates were capable of resorting to ‘extreme violence’.

Ernest Oakley, who was jailed earlier this year after admitting criminal damage and violent disorder, gave evidence via video link from prison.

Most Read

Mr Trollope said: ‘You and others attacked the caravans on that site and you had in one hand an axe, didn’t you?

‘And at some stage during the night that caravan was burned out, wasn’t it?’

Oakley replied: ‘Yeah. I saw it on fire but I didn’t see who set it on fire.’’

Mr Trollope asked: ‘Why were those people being chosen? Is it because they were related to the Smiths, to Nelson Smith?’

Oakley replied: ‘I don’t know, I wasn’t driving that camper van.’

‘But you were there all evening carrying an axe,’ said Mr Trollope.

‘They were chosen because they were related in some way to Nelson Smith Junior weren’t they?’

Oakley said: ‘Probably so yeah, but like I say, I was ashamed of what I done, it was a moment of madness, I wasn’t thinking straight.’

Mr Trollope told the court a horse was ‘bludgeoned’ to death with pieces of wood during the wild scenes.

The jury heard Oakley said on the day his brother died he saw Smith with a knife and the teenager admitted he had stabbed Nathan Oakley.

The trial continues.