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Defendants' lawyers finish final speeches as Tavis murder trial nears its end

PUBLISHED: 16:32 28 February 2019

Tributes left in memory of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens after the stabbing in Packard Avenue, Ipswich   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tributes left in memory of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens after the stabbing in Packard Avenue, Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A 24-year-old Ipswich man accused of murdering Tavis Spencer-Aitkens wasn't one of the "spotters" who were allegedly seen riding bikes in convoy with a van containing the teenager's killers to the scene of the fatal attack, it has been claimed.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens   Pictire: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYTavis Spencer-Aitkens Pictire: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

In his closing speech to the jury on Wednesday on behalf of Callum Plaats, Simon Spence QC said there were a lot of unanswered questions in his client’s case.

He said: “It’s not the defendant’s job to answer questions thrown up by the evidence. It’s up to the prosecution to answer them if they can.”

Mr Spence said the prosecution claimed Plaats was recruited as a “spotter” by Tavis’s alleged killers but there was no evidence that he knew what Tavis looked like or any details of his daily routine.

He said the defendants’ phones had been seized and analysed and none of them had Plaats’ number stored in their devices.

“In order for spotters to do their job properly they need to be in contact with the occupants of the van,” said Mr Spence.

He claimed there were inconsistencies in the accounts of eye witnesses who were in the Nacton area shortly before the attack on Tavis and their evidence didn’t support the prosecution’s claim that Plaats had been in Packard Avenue on the afternoon in question.

He claimed another unanswered question was whether or not Plaats was the cyclist seen by the van driver in Queens Way shortly before the attack on Tavis as his description of the cyclist didn’t match Plaats.

Mr Spence said that even if Plaats was aware of a plan to attack a member of the Neno gang from the Nacton area of Ipswich there was no evidence he knew that really serious harm was going to be caused to that person or that he was aware of the presence of a knife in the van.

Mr Spence claimed there was also no evidence that Plaats was in Iris Close where a weapon was allegedly collected before the attack on Tavis or that he was present in Yeoman Close when the knife allegedly used in the murder was thrown into the River Gipping.

He reminded the jury that his client had been diagnosed with autism and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) when he was 12 and had been assessed as having a “low average” IQ.

He said that people with autism had difficulty recalling evidence in chronological order and this was one of the reasons Plaats hadn’t given evidence during the trial.

Mr Spence said there was no forensic evidence to link Plaats with the delivery van which transported Tavis’s killers to the scene of the attack.

He claimed the evidence in relation to Plaats’ connection with the J Block gang from the Jubilee Park area of Ipswich which was allegedly responsible for the attack on Tavis as “pretty tenuous”.

“We suggest the lack of evidence will lead you inevitably to a verdict of not guilty in the case of Callum Plaats,” said Mr Spence.

In the dock at Ipswich Crown Court with Plaats, of Ipswich, are Aristote Yenge, 23, of Spring Road, Ipswich, Adebayo Amusa, 20, of Sovereign Road, Barking, Isaac Calver, 19, of Firmin Close, Ipswich, a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified, and Leon Glasgow, 42, of no fixed address. They have all denied murdering Tavis on June 2.

It has been alleged that Tavis was killed as a result of rivalry between the J Block and Neno gangs.

The case continues.

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