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Ipswich teenager targeted by group in revenge attack, court hears

PUBLISHED: 17:26 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:22 07 December 2018

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens   Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Archant

Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was allegedly “butchered” to death in a revenge attack by members of a rival group, the first day of a murder trial has heard.

Packard Avenue in Ipswich where the fatal attack took place. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPackard Avenue in Ipswich where the fatal attack took place. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Seventeen-year-old Tavis, who was friends with a group of young men from the Nacton area of Ipswich called ‘Neno’, allegedly had a bottle smashed over his head and was stabbed 15 times by members of the ‘J-Block’ group from the Jubilee Park area of the town, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Following the attack in Packard Avenue, Ipswich at around 4.45 pm on June 2, Tavis was seen stumbling down the street, falling over then getting up again several times, said Oliver Glasgow QC, prosecuting.

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

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

The Lush store in Tavern Street, Ipswich, where the confrontation took place. Picture: LEWIE ALWOODThe Lush store in Tavern Street, Ipswich, where the confrontation took place. Picture: LEWIE ALWOOD

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

MORE: How the first day of the trial unfolded

Mr Glasgow said she kept talking to him and asked: “Who done it, who was there?” and Tavis had allegedly 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’ heart and performed emergency surgery in an attempt to stem the loss of blood.

Police in Packard Avenue after the fatal attack on Tavis Spencer-Aitken. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice in Packard Avenue after the fatal attack on Tavis Spencer-Aitken. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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

Mr Glasgow said the prosecution could not call any witness who saw the actual attack on Tavis, but he claimed it was possible to piece together what happened to him from forensic evidence and from local residents who heard the attack and saw the aftermath.

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.

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANTIpswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Outlining the facts of the case Mr Glasgow claimed there was “heated rivalry” between the Neno and J-Block groups.

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 earlier in the day.

Two members of Neno had confronted two members of J-Block in Ipswich town centre and had shouted “IP3” - a reference to their Nacton postcode- and it was obvious they were intent on attacking the two J-Block members, alleged Mr Glasgow.

The two J-Block members had taken refuge in the Lush store in Tavern Street but 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 J-Block members so close to their home turf and the fact that the J-Block members had run and hidden rather than stand their ground gave the “moral victory” to Neno.

He claimed that within a couple of hours members of J-Block had gathered and got hold of a van and a driver before allegedly setting off for the Nacton area of Ipswich looking for a member or members of Neno on which to take their revenge.

On that afternoon Tavis had visited his family 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.

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

Mr Glasgow alleged the group which attacked Tavis included the defendants with whom Tavis and his friends had a “heated rivalry.”

“That group had travelled to the area where Tavis lived seeking revenge for what they perceived to be a loss of respect; that loss of respect had been caused when two of their friends had had a row with two of Tavis’ friends earlier that day.

“The defendants settled the score by smashing a bottle over Tavis’s head and stabbing him 15 times,” alleged Mr Glasgow.

“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 six 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.

“The first five defendants were all part of the armed group that went looking for the Neno group; they chased down their target, they produced their weapons and they butchered him.

“It matters not who inflicted which injury, who was armed with which weapon, or even whether they actually took part in the violent attack.

“What matters is that each of them knew there was to be an attack, that each of them played their part in it - either as a physical attacker or by encouraging and supporting their friends to attack Tavis - and that each of them wanted Tavis to be seriously hurt, said Mr Glasgow.

He alleged that the sixth defendant, Leon Glasgow, had driven the group to and from the attack site and without his help it could not have taken place.

Mr Glasgow said the jury would have to decide whether the attack was unlawful or not: “Given the number of injuries that Tavis suffered and given the ferocity of the attack, no-one is likely to suggest that he did anything to bring about what happened to him and no-one is likely to suggest that his attackers were defending themselves from Tavis.”

The court heard that following the attack on Tavis, Amusa’s DNA was recovered from a piece of a broken bottle stained with Tavis’ blood.

Mr Glasgow said Plaats had ridden a cycle that was in convoy with the van driven by Leon Glasgow and was allegedly seen just yards from the turning into the road where Tavis was killed.

“Given his membership of J-Block his presence in Neno territory can only have been to take part in the attack,” alleged Mr Glasgow.

The case, which is expected to last until the middle of February, continues.

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