A gang member murdered two 17-year-old boys and stabbed two others in an “armed and co-ordinated group ambush” at a birthday party, a jury heard today.
Earl Bevans admitted killing “best friends” Dom Ansah and Ben Gillham-Rice in a targeted attack on the night of October 19 last year, the court heard.
Bevans, 23, was part of the West Bletchley-based B3 gang in Buckinghamshire, who had discovered members of their rivals, the M4 gang from Milton Keynes, would be attending the party.
On the first day of his trial, Bevans, of no fixed abode, had admitted two counts of murder and two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent on other teenage guests, Ryan Brown and Tom Honhold.
Four others – Clayton Barker, aged 20 years, Charlie Chandler, aged 22 years, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy, who were from Milton Keynes – were still on trial for the same charges, which they denied.
Charlotte Newell QC, opening the case for the prosecution at Luton Crown Court, said the party at the centre of the killings was a girl’s 17th birthday party, held at her home in Archford Croft in Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes.
Ms Newell said: “That party was invaded by these defendants together with Earl Bevans in an armed co-ordinated group ambush upon young men they knew or believed to be at present at the event and with whom there was ongoing hostility. The result was that two young men lost their lives and two more were wounded.
“The defendants are all members of or associated with members of the West Bletchley based “B3” gang. The five defendants had received a tip off that members of the rival “M4″ gang were present and they planned a violent attack upon them.”
All five defendants had travelled together by taxi to the scene where, with masks and weapons, including a large machete or “Rambo” knife, they had jumped the fence into the cul-de-sac party house’s garden while one of their number blocked the escape route at the front door the court heard.
Ms Newell added: “The male party goers were targeted and the attack upon them was immediate and ferocious, they had little or no time to react and little or no chance of protecting themselves.
“Within seconds of the arrival of the defendants group one young man was dead, two had been sliced with a knife or knives causing serious but mercifully not fatal injuries and a fourth was running for his life.
“He however was caught and subjected to a frenzied attack in which he received a very large number of wounds as a result of which he too lost his life.”
Ben Gillham-Rice had been in the lounge when the attackers burst in and was stabbed six times, including once in the chest, the weapon penetrating his heart and causing him to slump into a chair, death coming almost instantly, the jury heard.
Dom Ansah was “a particular focus of the defendants’ attention” and after he slipped while fleeing into the street, he was repeatedly sliced and stabbed while on the ground, leaving him with 47 injuries, including shoulder, arm, leg and abdomen injuries, one which pierced his lung, Ms Newell told the courts
Brave partygoers and paramedics at the scene tried to treat the boy, who was transported to hospital where he rapidly deteriorated within hours, but he first told his mother that “B3 were responsible” before his life slipped away and he was pronounced dead, the prosecutor said.
Clayton Barker and one of the juveniles was recognised by other people at the party, who they were known to, and caught on CCTV and dash cam footage, which was shown to the jury.
Ms Newell said: “The group arriving at the party unannounced could not have known what resistance they may meet but they had the confidence that they could take and maintain the upper hand by utilizing the element of surprise and by arming themselves.
“It is inconceivable that anyone approaching that property, faces concealed by masks or balaclavas, in an armed group to carry out a surprise revenge attack which was executed in a co-ordinated and deadly fashion could have been in any doubt that the intention of it was to kill or cause really serious harm.
“Given the overwhelming weight of the evidence that each defendant was present, it is perhaps no surprise that no accused now disputes that he travelled to Archford Croft together with his co-defendants and the issues for you are their actions and state of mind of each of the remaining four defendants during the events with which you are concerned.”
Explaining the change of Bevans’ plea, High Court Judge Mr Justice Spencer, explained to the jurors why there was one less defendant in the dock.
The judge said: “The reason there has been a change is this – at the end of the proceedings in court yesterday, one of the five defendants, Earl Bevans, changed his pleas to ‘guilty’ on all four charges he faced. Accordingly, he has accepted his responsibility for his part in the murder of Dom Ansah and Ben Gillham-Rice.”
As Earl Bevans had admitted his role, the judge said the trial would continue as the other defendants still denied the offences.
Mr Justice Spencer added: “Earl Bevans will play no further part in this trial, although you may hear some evidence of his involvement during this trial. The fact that Earl Bevans has pleaded guilty to these charges is obviously conclusive evidence of his responsibility for these offences but in itself it proves nothing so far as the other defendants are concerned.”
The judge warned jurors to ignore people standing outside Luton Crown Court chanting that the defendants were innocent, before the opening of the prosecution case started.
Charlie Chandler and Clayton Barker, both from Bletchley and the two anonymous juveniles all deny two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.