Trio found guilty of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens murder

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, aged 16

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, aged 16 - Credit: Archant

Three men accused of murdering Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens have been convicted by a jury.

Aristote Yenge, 23, of Spring Road, Ipswich, Adebayo Amusa, 20, of Sovereign Road, Barking and Kyreis Davies, 17, of Turnstile Square, Colchester, had denied being involved in the brutal attack on 17-year-old Tavis who was allegedly hunted down and “butchered” to death in a gang related revenge attack.

They have each been found guilty of murder.

Davies can now be named after a reporting restriction was lifted following an application by the EADT and Ipswich Star.

Callum Plaats, of Ipswich, was later found guilty of manslaughter but cleared of murder.

Leon Glasgow, 42, of no fixed address, has been found not guilty of murder and manslaughter.

The jury still have to reach a verdict on Isaac Calver, 19, of Firmin Close, Ipswich and will continue their deliberations on Friday.

Tavis was stabbed 15 times and hit over the head with a glass bottle by his attackers who were accused of acting like a pack hunting down its prey.

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During a three month trial Ipswich Crown Court heard there was bitter rivalry between the JBlock gang from the Jubilee Park area of Ipswich and the Neno gang, from the Nacton area of Ipswich.

“The death of one of their members was perhaps inevitable because neither gang wanted to back down and neither gang wanted to lose face. Thus it was that they taunted each other, insulted each other until eventually someone was murdered,” said Oliver Glasgow QC, prosecuting.

“Tragically for Tavis’s parents, he was the victim …. attacked only yards from the safety of his family home, attacked in broad daylight, and attacked by a group who were armed and against whom he stood no chance.

“The cowardly nature of their violence where an armed group launch a surprise attack on a defenceless individual is made we suggest all the more shocking when you realise that his attackers must have assumed that no-one would want to speak out against them - why else would they feel confident of doing what they did in the middle of the day and on a residential street?” said Mr Glasgow.

He claimed the fatal attack on Tavis was the result of what JBlock perceived to be a loss of respect following a row between two of their friends and two of Tavis’s friends earlier on the day of the killing.

On that occasion two members of Neno had confronted two members of J Block in Ipswich town centre and had shouted “IP3” and appeared intent on attacking them.

The two JBlock members had taken refuge in “Lush” and before any violence took place a police officer ran into the store and ordered the two Neno members to leave.

Mr Glasgow told the court the fact that members of Neno had confronted the JBlock members so close to their home turf and the fact that the JBlock members had run and hidden rather than stood their ground gave the “moral victory” to Neno.

He claimed that within a couple of hours of the Lush incident, members of JBlock had been rounded up and those who were able to help met in Alderman Park where a plan was made.

“A plan to go in search of the rival gang and to seek revenge; a plan to use two spotters on bikes who could quickly ride through their rivals’ territory and identify a potential target, a plan to use an unremarkable delivery van to take them to and from the scene; a plan to use a driver who could be trusted and who was happy to help in order to fund his drug addiction; and a plan to go in numbers, to go tooled up and to go ready for lethal violence,” said Mr Glasgow.

“Thus it was that a quiet residential street in Ipswich was to become the scene of a brutal murder, was to see at least four men chase after Tavis; was to see at least two of that group armed with weapons; and was to see Tavis stabbed again and again and again. Why? All because JBlock had to do something in response to the incident in Lush,” added Mr Glasgow.

The court heard that on that afternoon Tavis had visited his father’s home in Packard Avenue and had something to eat before setting off to see a friend to help him rebuild a car.

Later that afternoon he returned to the house to pick up some tools and when he left he was in good spirits.

“That was the last time his family were to see him alive and well. Later that afternoon, only yards from where his father lives, Tavis was attacked by a group of young men,” said Mr Glasgow.

Following the attack at around 4.45 pm Tavis was seen stumbling down the street and to fall over and then get up again several times.

His family were at their nearby home when they were told he had been stabbed and his step-sister had rushed outside to find him lying on his side,

She could see blood on his face and clothing and when she asked him what had happened he allegedly said: “JBlock, man.”

She saw a deep cut to his his throat and when she lifted up his shirt she saw a number of injuries to his back.

The court heard she kept talking to him and asked: “Who done it, who was there?” and Tavis had replied: “There was too many of them” and began to struggle for breath.

Doctors who arrived at the scene found a stab wound to Tavis’s heart and performed emergency surgery in an attempt to stem the loss of blood.

He was stabilised and rushed to Ipswich Hospital but on his arrival he deteriorated and there was nothing that could be done to save him.

Mr Glasgow said: “It is the Crown’s case that, no matter what may have been said or done by Tavis’s friends during the incident in Ipswich town centre that Saturday afternoon, there is nothing that any of these six defendants can say to excuse the murderous attack upon him a few hours later.”

He claimed the defendants chose to go out in search of a member or members of the rival group and all six of them were determined to seek revenge.

Mr Glasgow claimed the group chased down their target, produced their weapons and “butchered” Tavis.

Mr Glasgow said both Neno and JBlock had rapped about their rivalry and dislike for each other.

The court heard that following the attack on Tavis, Amusa’s DNA was recovered from a broken bottle stained with Tavis’s blood and the blood of both Yenge and the 17-year-old was found in the delivery van.

Calver’s fingerprint was found on a bag in the van while it was claimed that Plaats was sent out on a bike as a “spotter” looking for a Neno member to attack.

Giving evidence during the trial Yenge, Amusa and the 16-year-old denied being in the van when it went to Packard Avenue and Glasgow denied knowing about the planned attack when he agreed to drive Amusa and his friends to Nacton.

Calver and Plaats chose not to give evidence.

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