Four found guilty of murdering teen Tavis Spencer-Aitkins in Ipswich last year

15 March 2019, 12:45 | Updated: 15 March 2019, 12:52

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens

Four people have been found guilty of murder following the fatal stabbing of a teenager in Ipswich last year, with a fifth person found guilty of manslaughter.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, aged 17, was attacked by a group of males at around 4.50pm on Saturday 2 June in Packard Avenue. He was taken to Ipswich Hospital in a critical condition but died there a short while later as a result of a stab wound.    

Following verdicts delivered at Ipswich Crown Court today, Friday 15 March, and yesterday, Thursday 14 March, five people were convicted for their part in his death following a 14-week trial.

Four were found guilty of murder as follows:  
-       Aristote Yenge, aged 23, of Spring Road, Ipswich
-       Kyreis Davies, aged 17, of Turnstile Square, Colchester
-       Adebayo Amusa, aged 20, of Sovereign Road, Barking, in east London
-       Isaac Calver, aged 19, of Firmin Close, Ipswich

A further man was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter as follows:
-       Callum Plaats, aged 23, of Ipswich

They have all been remanded in custody pending sentencing hearings to be held at Ipswich Crown Court on the week commencing Monday 29 April.

A sixth person, 42-year-old Leon Glasgow of no fixed abode, had also stood trial accused of murder, but he was found not guilty of both that offence and of manslaughter.

During the trial, the court heard that Yenge, Davies, Calver and Plaats were all part of a group who called themselves 'J-Block', based around the Jubilee Park area of Ipswich, close to the western edge of the town centre. Amusa was known to associate with 'J-Block' and has appeared in some music videos they recorded.

Tavis was friends with a group of males who called themselves 'Neno' or 'The Three', which is a reference to the IP3 postcode area of the Nacton Estate in south-east Ipswich from where they came.

The two groups had a heated rivalry and dislike for each other, which they would reference in music they both recorded and videos posted on YouTube. As a result, members of each group would avoid their rivals' territory and if they did encounter each other, it would often result in violence.

Earlier in the day on which Tavis was murdered, Yenge and Davies took refuge in a shop in Ipswich town centre after being spotted by two members of 'Neno'.

The two 'Neno' members taunted them shouting out "IP3", before a plain-clothes police officer heard a disturbance from out in the street, entered the shop and escorted the 'Neno' members out.

The perceived shame and loss of respect that Yenge and Davies would have suffered by running and hiding from two members of the 'Neno' group, close to what they would have regarded as their territory, is what provided the motivation for the attack on Tavis Spencer-Aitkens.

Within a couple of hours of this incident in the town centre, Yenge and Davies rounded-up other members of J-Block - including Calver and Plaats - and also Amusa and quickly began to plot their revenge.

Leon Glasgow was not part of 'J-Block', but would buy drugs off people associated with them, and on the day of the attack was asked to provide the group with a lift to the Nacton Estate in exchange for drugs.

Glasgow maintained throughout the trial that he did not have prior knowledge of the planned attack when he agreed to give the group a lift.

Yenge, Davies, Amusa and Calver were driven in the van being used by Glasgow, and all four are linked to the van by forensic evidence. They set off in convoy with two cyclists, one of whom was Callum Plaats, and made their way to 'Neno' territory looking for anyone associated with that group who they could exact revenge on.

Tragically for Tavis-Spencer Aitkens he was the person they came across and after being spotted by the 'J-Block' members as he was walking back from the shops in Queen's Way, they followed him into Packard Avenue where he was stabbed 15 times - one of which proved to be fatal - and had a bottle smashed over his head.

The van and the cyclists were captured on CCTV as they travelled towards Packard Avenue prior to the attack, and were all seen leaving the area at speed immediately after it.

Initial police enquiries into the attack quickly identified the van as having being present at the time of the attack, and Leon Glasgow was arrested the same evening and the van seized.

Further dynamic enquiries, including extensive CCTV and forensic work, resulted in Yenge, Davies and Calver being located at an address in Colchester where they were arrested two days after Tavis was killed.

Plaats had also been identified as a suspect in the first days of the inquiry and was arrested at an address in Ipswich on 6 June. Amusa's arrest followed on 24 July after he was also located at an address in Ipswich.

With the town centre altercation providing a motive for the attack on Tavis, the police investigation was then able to prove that the five defendants had gathered together that afternoon and then travelled to the Nacton Estate to look for someone connected to 'Neno' to exact their revenge on.

Yenge, Davies, Amusa and Calver were all linked to Glasgow's van by forensic evidence and Plaats was identified on CCTV as being one of the cyclists travelling in convoy with the van and then a short while later in the area of Nacton Road.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Brown, of the Major Investigation Team, said: "The murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens is one of the most senseless acts of violence I have experienced in my career as a police officer and an utter tragedy for his family and friends.

"Tavis had done nothing to provoke this attack and was quite simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when the defendants arrived at the Nacton Estate looking for anyone connected to 'Neno' to attack.

"To stab someone 15 times because two members of your group had supposedly suffered a loss of 'respect' by running and hiding from two members of a rival group is beyond comprehension.

"Their actions were not only extremely violent, but also completely cowardly. Tavis had no chance of defending himself when set upon by this group, in what was a frenzied attack lasting less than a minute.

"The whole investigation team has been determined from day one to achieve justice for Tavis and his family and so I am extremely pleased by the verdicts handed down to the five defendants who have been found guilty for their part in the attack.

"However, these verdicts will not return a 17-year-old boy to his heartbroken family and so we must all work to ensure that Tavis' legacy is an end to this violence.

"Knives have no place on our streets and we must educate both children and young adults, who think that carrying one will make them safer and offer protection, that the reality is there is a greater risk that it will either be used by the person carrying it, or against them.

"I don't want to watch another family suffer as Tavis' family have. Knife crime is a societal issue and it is incumbent on all responsible authorities - including the police and councils - to work alongside the many support agencies and with local communities to eradicate this evil."