Police officer witnessed row between rival groups on day of Tavis attack, court hears

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

A police officer intervened in a row between members of two rival groups in Ipswich town centre a few hours before 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was stabbed to death, it has been alleged.

Giving evidence in the trial of six defendants accused of murdering Tavis, Sgt Murray Osman said he became concerned when he was told by colleagues that two members of the “Neno” group from the Nacton area of Ipswich had been seen in the town at around 2pm on June 2.

The officer, who was in plain clothes on the day in question, said he was concerned because members of Neno tended to stay in the Nacton area of town and he immediately went to Tavern Street and stood outside McDonald’s to look out for them.

Sgt Osman said the two members of the Neno group, who had been spotted in the town centre, were “prominent” members of the group and he was worried there might be trouble if members of the rival J-Block group from the Jubilee Park area of town, were in the area.

He said while he was standing near McDonald’s he saw a 16-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man called Aristote Yenge, who he recognised as members of J-Block group.

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Shortly afterwards he heard shouting coming from the nearby Lush store and when he ran into the shop he saw Yenge and the 16-year-old boy near the back of the store and the two members of the Neno group in the middle of the shop.

He said there were customers and staff in the shop and as the men were shouting at each other he feared the incident might escalate into “significant violence”.

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Sgt Osman said he shouted at the men to “take it outside” and he had then frogmarched the two members of the Neno group out of the shop.

Outside, he and a colleague had searched the men for weapons and let them go on their way when they didn’t find anything.

A few hours later Sgt Osman said he heard about the incident in Packard Avenue, Ipswich, in which Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, who was friends with members of the Neno group, had been stabbed.

Before the court are Aristote Yenge, 23, of Spring Road, Ipswich, Adebayo Amusa, 20, of Sovereign Road, Barking, Callum Plaats, 23, of Ipswich, Isaac Calver, 19, of Firmin Close, Ipswich, a 16-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons and Leon Glasgow, 42, of no fixed address.

They all deny murdering Tavis, of Pownall Road, Ipswich on June 2.

It has been alleged Tavis was “butchered” to death in a revenge attack by members of J-Block.

Tavis died after he allegedly had a bottle smashed over his head and was stabbed 15 times.

Oliver Glasgow QC, prosecuting, told the court there was “heated rivalry” between the two groups which came from different parts of the town.

He claimed the attack on Tavis was the result of what the J-Block group perceived to be a loss of respect following a row between two of their friends and two of Tavis’ friends from the Neno group in Lush earlier on June 2.

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

He said later that afternoon members of J-Block, including the defendants, had allegedly travelled to the area where Tavis lived seeking revenge for what had happened earlier.

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

“All six of them 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,” said Mr Glasgow.

The trial continues.

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