Raymond Quigley: Suffolk teens found guilty of Ipswich murder
Alfie Hammett, aged 19, and Joshua Howell, aged 18, were found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court today, after a trial lasting more than five weeks.
Hammett, of Larkhill Rise, Rushmere St Andrew; and Howell of Wellington Street, Ipswich; both stood accused of murdering Raymond James Quigley – known as James – from Wymondham in Norfolk.
They were both also charged with possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and Howell was further charged with threatening another person with a bladed article.
The incident occurred at approximately 3.35pm on January 17, in Westgate Street.
James had travelled to Ipswich from Wymondham that day to meet two friends and he was walking through the town with them when they encountered Hammett and Howell - who were wearing face masks, had hoods up and were both carrying large knives.
Hammett then ran directly towards James and proceeded to attack him, while Howell – brandishing a machete - chased after one of James’ friends, who managed to escape to safety in a nearby shop.
Howell then ran off up Providence Street, while Hammett – having stabbed James a number of times – ran off in the opposite direction back across the Cornhill.
Following the attack, James managed to stagger across the road to get help and collapsed in a nearby shop. Members of the public came to his assistance and provided initial first aid, with police units and ambulance crews arriving shortly afterwards, but despite the best efforts of medical personnel he died at the scene.
A Home Office post-mortem examination concluded that James sustained four stab wounds to the torso, with two wounds to the chest and abdomen proving to be fatal.
The attack and the movements of the suspects both prior to the incident and afterwards were captured on CCTV.
Detectives worked tirelessly over the following four days to identify and locate the suspects, with Hammett and Howell arrested on January 21.
They were taken into police custody for questioning, before being charged with murder two days later.
The court heard that the motive for the attack was most likely due to tensions between rival gangs from Norwich. James Quigley had an association with a gang called ‘OTM’, which stands for ‘Only The Money’.
Hammett – who had previously lived in Norwich – was associated with another gang from there called ‘3rdside’, who were rivals of ‘OTM’. Joshua Howell had links to the Nacton gang in Ipswich - also known as ‘IP3’ – who the prosecution attest had formed a level of cooperation with ‘3rdside’.
Alfie Hammett did not give evidence during the trial, but his defence disputed that he was the man who attacked James Quigley – referred to as ‘Male 1’ by the prosecution.
Joshua Howell did take the stand to give evidence and denied being affiliated with IP3. He claimed he had not previously met ‘Male 1’ and said he had gone out to make a drug deal that day and was carrying a machete for his own protection.
He said after making the deal, he had only walked through town with ‘Male 1’ to show him the way to a kebab shop in Westgate Street and the attack had occurred spontaneously, without his prior knowledge. His defence for drawing his machete was that he feared being attacked by the other group.
The jury rejected Howell’s defence and were also satisfied that the police evidence proved that Alfie Hammett was indeed ‘Male 1’, finding them both guilty by unanimous verdicts on all counts.
The pair were remanded in custody pending a sentencing hearing to be held at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday 11 March.