Bury St Edmunds teenager found guilty of murdering Daniel Saunders in Ipswich

A teenage boy has been found guilty of murder following a fatal stabbing in Ipswich at the end of last year.

Daniel Saunders, aged 32 and originally from Surrey, was attacked in Turin Street on Sunday 16 December and died at the scene of the incident.

A 17-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was convicted of murder at Ipswich Crown Court today, Wednesday 21 August, after the jury unanimously found him guilty following a trial which lasted over six weeks.

Five other people were also convicted by the court today in relation to the attack, with the jury finding them guilty for the offence of assisting an offender. They are as follows:

       Arjun Jadeja, aged 18, of The Nook, Wivenhoe, near Colchester

       Benjamin Gosbell, aged 20, of Gratian Close, Highwoods, Colchester

       Olusola Durojaiye, aged 33, of Appleton Mews, Colchester

       A 16-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds and a 17-year-old boy from Colchester (who cannot be named for legal reasons)

Daniel Saunders was stabbed by the 17-year-old from Bury St Edmunds in an alleyway behind houses in Turin Street at around 1.50pm on Sunday 16 December 2018. He managed to run out of the alleyway into Kenyon Street, where he then collapsed before members of the public came to his aid and called an ambulance.

Daniel died in the street where he collapsed and the post mortem examination concluded that he had sustained a single stab wound to the abdomen by a blade approximately one foot in length. He suffered catastrophic blood loss as a result of the massive internal damage he sustained.

A murder inquiry was launched by the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team and detectives immediately began to uncover the circumstances leading-up to the attack on Daniel.

Daniel’s killer was a drugs runner for a Class A drugs supply organisation calling themselves ‘Rico and Frank’. On the weekend that Daniel Saunders was murdered, his attacker and Benjamin Gosbell were dealing drugs from the flat of a vulnerable man in the Wherstead Road area of Ipswich. It is a common tactic of drug dealers to coerce drug addicts into letting them use their home and is referred to as ‘cuckooing’.

On the afternoon of Sunday 16 December, the 17-year-old from Bury St Edmunds was out on the streets selling drugs in the Wherstead Road area. Daniel Saunders was also in the same area accompanied by a friend. They saw the 17-year-old and recognised him as a drug dealer and they followed him into the alleyway behind Turin Street where he was selling drugs to other users.

Daniel Saunders’ friend bought some drugs from him first then turned to walk away, following which he heard Daniel cry out and run away with blood pouring from his stomach and his attacker holding a large knife. Daniel’s friend attested that the teenager then ran towards him and so he ran away fearing for his own life.

The police investigation that followed found that after the attack on Daniel Saunders, his killer returned to the flat they were operating from and Gosbell called a taxi to take them to the Premier Inn in Colchester, where they met up with Jadeja and the two other teenagers.

They had been using a room at the Premier Inn as a temporary base for the ‘Rico and Frank’ operation and whilst there Gosbell, Jadeja and the two teenage boys assisted the 17-year-old from Bury St Edmunds to dispose of his clothing and commence a clean-up operation in the room.

Olusola Durojaiye acted as a driver for the group and his people carrier was captured on CCTV arriving at the Premier Inn at 6.20pm the same day, where he picked up the two teenagers from Bury St Edmunds.

Durojaiye then drove them to a caravan owned by Jadeja’s family, which was located at a holiday park in St Osyth. Here they met Gosbell, Jadeja and the 17-year-old from Colchester, who had left the Premier Inn in a taxi at around 3pm.

Detectives had traced the group to the caravan park within a matter of days and on Thursday 20 December, officers went to the park to make initial enquires at which point they witnessed Daniel Saunders’ killer and the two other teenage boys get into a taxi.

Armed officers from Essex Police then stopped the taxi a short distance away where the three boys were arrested, with Daniel’s killer found in possession of a sword secreted down his trouser leg and the 17-year-old from Colchester found with a machete down his trousers. Officers then attended the caravan where they arrested Jadeja. The arrests of Gosbell and Durojaiye followed on 25 January and 29 January respectively, both taking place in Colchester.  

The investigation also found that on Saturday 15 December – the day prior to the attack on Daniel Saunders – Durojaiye had driven the two 17-year-olds, Gosbell and Jadeja to Southend.

The purpose of this trip was to buy two machetes from a shop in the town, which was a purchase ultimately carried-out by Durojaiye, as the shopkeeper refused to sell to the others as he thought they were too young.

The motivation behind buying these weapons appeared to be as a result of another drugs runner for the ‘Rico and Frank’ business claiming an attempt had been made to rob him at some point before the weekend in question, and he alleged that it had been Daniel Saunders and his friend that were responsible.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Brown, on behalf of the Senior Investigating Officer DCI Caroline Millar, said: “I am pleased with the verdicts handed down today and that justice has been delivered for Daniel Saunders’ family.

“However, this does not bring Daniel back for them and his tragic and utterly senseless death, has further highlighted one of the most highly devastating issues affecting numerous towns and cities across the country. This was the second murder investigation DCI Millar led in the space of two years where county lines drug dealing played a part in the attack, the other being the death of Dean Stansby in February 2017.

“Daniel, like Dean, had sadly become addicted to Class A drugs, the purchase of which has seemingly become more dangerous for the addicts, as they are buying from people who regularly arm themselves with weapons in the event of any disagreement. What was even more startling about Daniel’s murder, was that his assailant was just 17 years-old, and three of those who assisted him were aged 18 or under – with the youngest being 15 at the time of the incident.

“Although all of the defendants are old enough to know right from wrong, the pattern we are seeing all too frequently is that of teenagers being drawn into the dangerous world of drugs supply, which is presented to them as somewhat glamorous and a way to easily earn sizeable sums of cash.

“What they need to be acutely aware of is that what they are doing is illegal and rarely ends well, as by dealing drugs and carrying weapons they are putting themselves into situations that will often spiral out of control. It is also unlikely to take them long to come to the attention of police.

“Daniel Saunders’ killer should be under no illusions now as to the devastating consequences of his extreme act of violence on that Sunday afternoon last December. He brought a 32-year-old man’s life to an abrupt end with little motivation for the attack and despite his young age, he is clearly a dangerous individual and now faces a lengthy term in custody when he is sentenced.”

Sentencing will take place at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday 4 October.

The 17-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds, Gosbell and Jadeja have all been remanded in custody pending that appearance. The 16-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds, 17-year-old boy from Colchester and Duroyaie have been granted conditional bail with curfew orders.