Alleged killer accused of murdering drug user after hearing he tried to rob dealer
PUBLISHED: 18:21 10 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:21 11 July 2019
An alleged killer "mimicked the dying actions" of a man he stabbed with a foot-long machete on the streets of Ipswich after hearing he tried to rob another drug dealer, a murder trial has heard.
The 17-year-old is alleged to have stabbed 32-year-old drug user Daniel Saunders in an alleyway near Turin Street, where he died from his wounds on December 16.
The teenager, from Bury St Edmunds, who denies murder, is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court with five other defendants, who all deny assisting an offender by disposing of his clothing and harbouring him at a caravan park.
They are Arjun Jadeja, 18, of The Nook, Wivenhoe; Benjamin Gosbell, 20, of Gratian Close, Highwoods, Colchester; Olusola Durojaiye, 33, of Appleton Mews, Colchester; a 16-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds, and a 17-year-old boy from Colchester.
Prosecutor Simon Spence said that two defendants, including the alleged killer, bought a machete and large knife from a Southend shop where taxi driver Durojaiye vouched for their ages.
Mr Spence said the alleged murderer and Gosbell were drug runners for a supply line known as 'Rico and Frank' - dealing on the streets of Ipswich from the Griffin Court home of a man with a mounting drug debt incurred through a "hopeless addiction to heroin and crack cocaine".
He said the pair travelled back to a temporary base at a Premier Inn hotel, in Colchester, in order to obtain weapons previously bought in Southend, after another Rico and Frank dealer claimed Mr Saunders had tried to rob him of drugs two days before his murder.
On December 16, Mr Spence told jurors, the 17-year-old dealer encountered Mr Saunders and his friend, Ben Wright, who bought a wrap of heroin and crack cocaine. Mr Wright told the dealer Mr Saunders had not been involved in the attempted robbery.
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Mr Spence said: "What happened thereafter, Mr Wright didn't see, but there was an altercation and he heard his friend cry out. He saw Mr Saunders running away, in his words, with his guts out.
"Having fatally injured Mr Saunders, he then ran towards Mr Wright, who ran away in fear."
Mr Saunders died from catastrophic blood loss as a result of a stab wound - from a blade thought to measure 30cm - causing serious damage to internal organs and blood vessels.
The teenager is then said to have fled to the Premier Inn, where the 16-year-old is alleged to have handed an unwitting cleaner a bag of his clothing to be disposed of.
Before leaving for a mobile home belonging to Jadeja's mother, in St Osyth, the teenager could be seen on CCTV, in the company of the 16-year-old, "mimicking" the stabbing by clutching his left side, Mr Spence alleged.
On December 18, the 17-year-old, Gosbell and Jadeja are alleged to have returned to collect £270 from the Griffin Court flat, where the occupant told police Gosbell joked about the alleged stabbing by falling to his knees, clutching his stomach and saying "give me half a gramme".
Two days later, the alleged killer and the 16-year-old boy were arrested in possession of a sword-type weapon and a machete at the St Osyth caravan park, where a taxi was found to contain the other 17-year-old, a large Bowie knife, and a bag containing crack cocaine and heroin, while Jadeja was found inside the caravan along with a large machete.
In April, the alleged killer told police that Mr Saunders and Mr Wright had tried to rob him in the alleyway, and that he had grabbed a knife being carried by Mr Wright and stabbed Mr Saunders in self defence.
The trial continues.