Tavis Spencer-Aitkens: Church event aims to unite community

A community left “scared” by the fatal stabbing of a teenager have come together at an anti-knife crime event.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was stabbed 15 times and hit over the head with a glass bottle in Ipswich’s Nacton estate on 2 June last year.

The event at Nansen Road Baptist Church was attended by members of his family and featured talks and music.

Organiser Michael Earrey said it was “right for the area” to come together and “change lives.”

Mr Earrey, chairman of the Noisy Group collective of church volunteers said: “The people on this estate are so scared [because of what happened] – especially older people.

“I thought it might put their mind at rest to show there can be good times”.

Tavis Spencer Aitkens
Spencer-Aitkens died in hospital after being stabbed 15 times. Image copyright: Suffolk Police,

Speakers at the event included Roseann Taylor, whose son, 18-year-old Azaan Kaleem, was killed in a separate, unrelated, attack in Luton last March.

“The message is that it [knife crime] could happen to anybody,” she said.

“I thought because my child was not involved in gang violence, known to the police or involved in drugs that it wouldn’t be me.”

Earlier this year, three men and a teenager were sentenced to life for murdering Mr Spencer-Aitkens, while another man was jailed for 14 years for manslaughter.

A four-month trial at Ipswich Crown Court heard there was an intense rivalry between Mr Spencer-Aitkens’ friends and another gang of which his killers were members.

The events leading to the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens is covered in this documentary on BBC Sounds.

First published 08.09.19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-49620923

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