Threats from public gallery as Ipswich teenager jailed for West Meadows’ killings sparked by row over Red Bull can
- Credit: Archant
A teenager who stabbed two travellers to death on an Ipswich caravan site during a row sparked by a can of Red Bull was jailed for a minimum of 17 years today.
Nelson Smith, 18, plunged an eight-inch carving knife into Nathan Oakley, 18, and Barry Street, 32, during a chaotic brawl at the West Meadows in Bury Road.
Smith claimed he grabbed the blade and stabbed the two men repeatedly from behind to stop them viciously beating his father Nelson Smith Senior on 8 December 2016.
Smith Jnr, who was aged 17 at the time, fled through some fields after the attack and dumped the knife and his bloodied shirt in some woodlands behind the travellers’ site.
Oakley was rushed to hospital by relatives in a car while Street was taken to hospital by ambulance after collapsing near the exit of the site with stab wounds to his neck and back.
Both men were pronounced dead within an hour.
Smith showed no emotion as he was jailed for life with a minimum of 17 years for murdering Mr Street, who was jailed himself for 14 years for armed robbery in 2006.
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The teenager given a concurrent 10-year sentence for the manslaughter of Mr Oakley.
A crowd of travellers erupted in rage in the public gallery as Mr Justice Spencer announced the sentence and one man vowed revenge, shouting: ‘There will be more to come... trust me.’
When the judge told them to leave the public gallery, the man shouted: “You have been a bully, 16 years robber tried to bully a 17-year-old kid, that’s what happened. They will all get it.”
Mr Justice Spencer said the fight had started over a ‘trivial’ dispute about littering on a caravan pitch.
The trial heard Mr Street had been accused of throwing a can of Red Bull through the window of a teenager due to take up the plot, which was next to his family’s.
“Barry Street had taken offence at the suggestion that he had thrown a can of drink through the window of a caravan on the plot next to his,’ said the judge.
“Later that morning [Smith’s] father’s partner, Stacey Webb, was spreading the word on the site that she could not wait to see Barry Street get booted in the mouth.
“That found its way back to Barry Street’s wife, Tammy Smith.
“In the traveller culture such an insult to her husband had to be dealt with and settled by violence.”
A crowd gathered to watch Stacey Webb and Tammy Smith have a fist fight outside the Smith family’s caravan pitch.
“The fact that this was how travellers settle their disputes did not make it lawful,” said Judge Spencer.
“Suffice it to say that a fight between the two women, intended to be one onto one, ended up in a much larger melee in which your father became involved.’
Smith told jurors he was making tea in his grandmother’s trailer when he heard Street threaten to shoot his father.
The teenager said he stabbed him and Oakley repeatedly from behind and left them for dead after they began to attack Mr Smith Snr with a metal pole, an axe, and a catapult.
Judge Spencer said: “The knife you selected from the kitchen drawer was an eight inch bladed carving knife.
“You tucked it into the waistband of your trousers, out of sight.
“You gave no warning to anyone that you had the knife.
“You used the knife unlawfully on both men and within seconds you had stabbed both of them fatally.’
Three days after the killings Nathan’s brother Ernest led a ‘sickening’ revenge attack on the site as he sought vengeance on the Smith family.
A police helicopter and several vans were dispatched as Ernest and five other men bludgeoned a horse to death with planks of wood and burned caravans to the ground.
Smith Jnr had denied murdering Mr Street and Mr Oakley, but was convicted after a trial.