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The violence has got to stop, says family of stabbed to death teenager

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, 17, was attacked in Ipswich and police have arrested five men on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

The “heartbroken” mother and stepmother of a teenager who was stabbed to death while walking back from the shops have said “the violence has got to stop before it breaks even more hearts”.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, 17, was approached by two men on bicycles who attacked him in Ipswich on Saturday, before four to five other men also assaulted him.

Tavis died of a single stab wound, and Suffolk Police believe it was a “targeted attack”.

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Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was stabbed to death

His mother Sharon Box and stepmother Helen Forbes appealed for anyone with information about his death to come forward.

They faced the cameras at a press conference at Suffolk Police headquarters in Martlesham on Wednesday, with a photo of Tavis and his twin brother Tyler on the table in front of them.

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Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, right, and his twin brother Tyler (Family handout/PA)

His mother, who was too upset to speak, had her words read by a family liaison officer.

She said the loss of Tavis had “devastated” the family and appealed for anyone with information to come forward, adding: “I appreciate you may be concerned yourself, but please understand the pain our family is going through.”

“Tavis was our world,” she said. “He meant everything to us.

“We will remember him as having a lovely soul.

“He was a well-mannered, polite young man.

“He was cheeky, outgoing, he loved his drill music and was a talented footballer.

“He was truly loved and is truly missed.”

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Tavis Spencer-Aitkens’ mother Sharon Box was too upset to speak (Joe Giddens/PA)

She said he was taken “unnecessarily, needlessly and cruelly” and his family is “heartbroken”.

“If anybody witnessed this horrific attack or heard or saw anything could they please, please, please come forward,” she said.

I don’t want other parents to feel the heartache and pain that we are feeling at this time Tavis Spencer-Aitkens' stepmother Helen Forbes

His step-mother Helen Forbes, who sat beside his mother, began to read her own statement before having to let a family liaison officer take over, wiping tears from her eyes.

“Tavis was only 17,” she said. “He should have had his whole life in front of him.

“He should have had the chance to have a family of his own.”

She added: “The violence has got to stop before it breaks even more hearts, just like it has broken mine.

“I don’t want other parents to feel the heartache and pain that we are feeling at this time.”

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Tavis Spencer-Aitkens’ stepmother Helen Forbes, left, broke down at the press conference

Officers were called to reports that a teenager had been stabbed in Packard Avenue at 4.50pm on Saturday.

Tavis died at Ipswich Hospital.

Five men, aged 16, 18, 20, 22 and 41, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder and remain in custody for questioning.

A 36-year-old woman from Essex was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and has now been released under investigation while inquiries continue.

Officers are appealing for anyone with CCTV, dash cam or mobile phone footage, who were in the area of Queen’s Way, Packard Avenue, Rands Way or Kingsway, between midday and 7.45pm on Saturday to make contact.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Major Investigation Team by uploading information to the online portal: mipp.police.uk/operation/804

If that is not possible, people are asked to dial 101 and quote reference 30192/18, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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