Barking murder accused ‘had never been part of J Block gang’, court hears

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: Supplied by family

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

A 20-year-old drug dealer from Barking accused of murdering a teenager was not part of the group that attacked him, it has been claimed.

In her closing speech to the jury on behalf of Adebayo Amusa, who is alleged to have hit Tavis Spencer-Aitkens over the head with a bottle, Elizabeth Marsh QC said that a male described by an eyewitness as the “bottler” could not be her client and there were “other candidates” who fitted that description.

She said the prosecution had asked the jury to ignore the most compelling parts of that witness’s evidence.

However, she claimed that if the jury did accept that witness’s evidence, there was no-one in Packard Avenue, Ipswich, on the afternoon of the attack that fitted Amusa’s description in terms of build and skin colour.

Miss Marsh told the jury that Amusa was arrested by police on July 24 - seven weeks after Tavis’s murder - on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs and was then further arrested on suspicion of Tavis’s murder.

She said that cell site evidence covering Packard Avenue showed that in the seven weeks between Tavis’s murder and his arrest, Amusa’s personal mobile phone had been in the area 17 times.

Miss Marsh asked the jury to accept that it was unlikely that if Amusa, who claims he was drug dealing in Ipswich town centre at the time of Tavis’s murder, had been involved in the attack he would have returned to the area in the following few weeks and risked being identified by witnesses, being attacked by members of the local Neno gang or being arrested.

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She said Amusa had no allegiance to Ipswich and if he had been involved in the attack on Travis it was unlikely he would have stayed in the area.

Miss Marsh also drew the jury’s attention to a mistake by the police and prosecution by identifying Amusa as riding a bike in Portman Road when it had been established during the trial that it was someone else.

Before Ipswich Crown Court with Amusa, of Sovereign Road, Barking, are Aristote Yenge, 23, of Spring Road, Ipswich, Callum Plaats, 23, of Ipswich, Isaac Calver, 19, of Firmin Close, Ipswich, a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified, and Leon Glasgow, 42, of no fixed address. The have all denied murdering 17-year-old Tavis in Packard Avenue on June 2 last year.

During her speech Miss Marsh said if Amusa had been aware of the “murderous mission” to Nacton it was unlikely he would have recruited his co-defendant Leon Glasgow to drive the distinctive DPD delivery van that was used to take Tavis’s killers to Packard Avenue.

She said Amusa would have known the van would be spotted and inevitably traced back to Glasgow and that Glasgow would “almost certainly have given Amusa up and said it was his fault”.

She said that if Amusa had recruited Glasgow to take Tavis’s killers to Nacton he couldn’t know he wouldn’t go straight to the police.

During the trial the prosecution has alleged the attack on Tavis was the result of rivalry between the two gangs for what J-Block perceived to be a loss of respect following a row between the 16-year-old defendant and Yenge and two of Tavis’s friends during a confrontation in Ipswich town centre.

However, Miss Marsh claimed that Amusa “wasn’t and never has been” a member of J Block and had only come to Ipswich a few weeks before the attack on Tavis.

The trial continues.