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Murder accused dealer used 'self-defence' after 'walking into robbery'

Daniel Saunders, 32, died on December 16 last year  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Daniel Saunders, 32, died on December 16 last year Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

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Jurors have been urged not to rule out the possibility an Ipswich man was 'out to rob' a teenage drug runner accused of his murder.

Daniel Saunders died after being stabbed in an alleyway near Turin Street on December 16 last year.

The 17-year-old accused of his murder was acting in self-defence after "walking into an armed robbery", according to the boy's barrister William Carter.

Summing up at Ipswich Crown Court, Mr Carter said the 32-year-old victim and his friend, Ben Wright, allegedly robbed a drug user in the same alleyway before the stabbing.

The prosecution had previously argued Mr Saunders was attacked when he and Mr Wright just went to buy drugs from the teen, who belonged to the same 'Rico and Frank' chain as a dealer on the receiving end of an earlier attempted robbery.

Mr Carter said phone evidence had led police to a Rico and Frank customer, who claimed to have been robbed of cash by the pair just before the stabbing.

Mr Carter said the customer tried to warn the Rico and Frank drug line that the runner was "walking into an armed robbery".

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Under earlier examination, Mr Wright said he and Mr Saunders were neither armed, nor intent on robbery, and that the teen launched an attack out of the blue.

Mr Carter told jurors: "I think you can be pretty confident he simply wasn't telling the truth."

The 17-year-old, from Bury St Edmunds, denies murder, while five others deny assisting an offender by disposing of his clothing and harbouring him at an Essex 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 had previously said the murder accused and Gosbell were dealing on the streets of Ipswich from the Griffin Court home of a man with a mounting drug debt.

He said the pair travelled to a temporary base at a Premier Inn, in Colchester, to pick up machetes.

Mr Carter said there was no evidence the weapons ever made it to Ipswich, and that the teenager was no likelier than Mr Wright to have been responsible for discarding another knife, later found near Vernon Street.

The trial continues.

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