Guilty: Barking drug dealer convicted of murdering teenager in gang-related revenge attack

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: Supplied by family

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: Supplied by family - Credit: Archant

A Barking drug dealer has been found guilty of the murder of a teenager stabbed to death in a gang-related revenge attack.

Adebayo Amusa, 20, of Sovereign Road, was convicted of the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens alongside Aristote Yenge, 23, of Spring Road, Ipswich and Kyreis Davies, 17, of Turnstile Square, Colchester - who can now be named after a reporting restriction preventing his identity from being made public was lifted.

Of the three other defendants on trial at Ipswich Crown Court, Callum Plaats, of Ipswich, was found guilty of manslaughter but cleared of murder and Leon Glasgow, 42, of no fixed address, was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

The jury still have to reach a verdict on Isaac Calver, 19, of Firmin Close, Ipswich and will continue their deliberations tomorrow (Friday).

Tavis, 17, was stabbed 15 times and hit over the head with a glass bottle by his attackers who were accused of acting like a pack hunting down its prey.

The trial, which began in November, heard how heard there was bitter rivalry between the J Block gang from the Jubilee Park area of Ipswich and the Neno gang, from the Nacton area of Ipswich.

“The death of one of their members was perhaps inevitable because neither gang wanted to back down and neither gang wanted to lose face. Thus it was that they taunted each other, insulted each other until eventually someone was murdered,” said Oliver Glasgow QC, prosecuting.

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“Tragically for Tavis’s parents, he was the victim …. attacked only yards from the safety of his family home, attacked in broad daylight, and attacked by a group who were armed and against whom he stood no chance.

“The cowardly nature of their violence where an armed group launch a surprise attack on a defenceless individual is made we suggest all the more shocking when you realise that his attackers must have assumed that no-one would want to speak out against them - why else would they feel confident of doing what they did in the middle of the day and on a residential street?” said Mr Glasgow.

He claimed the fatal attack on Tavis was the result of what J Block perceived to be a loss of respect following a row between two of their friends and two of Tavis’s friends earlier on the day of the killing.

The court heard that on that afternoon Tavis had visited his father’s 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.

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

Following the attack at around 4.45 pm Tavis was seen stumbling down the street and to fall over and then get up again several times.

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Glasgow said both Neno and J Block had rapped about their rivalry and dislike for each other.

The court heard that following the attack on Tavis, Amusa’s DNA was recovered from a broken bottle stained with Tavis’s blood and the blood of both Yenge and the 17-year-old was found in the delivery van.

Calver’s fingerprint was found on a bag in the van while it was claimed that Plaats was sent out on a bike as a “spotter” looking for a Neno member to attack.

Giving evidence during the trial Yenge, Amusa and the 16-year-old denied being in the van when it went to Packard Avenue and Glasgow denied knowing about the planned attack when he agreed to drive Amusa - who admitted to being in Ispwich to sell drugs - and his friends to Nacton.

Calver and Plaats chose not to give evidence.