James Quigley: Norfolk teenager's murder in Ipswich was 'revenge killing' of Joe Dix by rival gang

  • Rob Setchell reports on how a bitter gang dispute led to deaths on the streets of Ipswich and Norwich

Two teenagers who stabbed an 18-year-old to death carried out the murder in revenge for another gang-related killing, a court was told.

James Quigley was stabbed to death in front of shoppers in Ipswich on 17 January last year, as part of a dispute between rival Norfolk-based gangs.

Alfie Hammett, 19, and Joshua Howell, 19, chased Mr Quigley and a friend before fleeing the scene, leaving their victim to stagger to a nearby shop and die in the street.

At Ipswich Crown Court, both killers were handed life sentences, with Hammett ordered to serve a minimum of 24 years, and Howell a minimum of 20 years.

Norwich Crown Court heard how Hammett was part of the same gang as Joe Dix - who was murdered by three rival gang members in January 2022 - and was motivated to take revenge for his death.

Nineteen-year-old Alfie Hammett, left, and Joshua Howell, 18, were found guilty after a trial lasting over five weeks. Credit: Suffolk Police

The court was told he had the order of service for Mr Dix's funeral in his room.

During a sentencing hearing on Monday, the court heard Mr Quigley was friends with the men convicted of killing Mr Dix, who were jailed for 20 years in October 2023.

Prosecutors described the murder as a “targeted attack” set “against the background of gangs" and retribution for Mr Dix's murder.

Addressing the two killers, Mr Quigley's mother Margaret Oakes said: "I cannot find the words for you.

“You had no right to take my son’s life and I will never forgive you.

“I hope that from today onwards you cowards look at yourselves and see my beautiful son looking back at you."

The court heard that Mr Quigley’s nieces and nephews were devastated by his death.

A personal statement from his sister said: “One of my daughters said she wished she could die so she could go up and see James in heaven.”

Flowers and messages, including from James Quigley's family, were placed at the scene on Westgate Street in the days following the murder. Credit: ITV News Anglia

During the trial, the court heard that Quigley's death was a result of tensions between rival Norwich gangs.

Hammett was part of the Norwich "3rdside" gang - the same gang that Joe Dix belonged to.

Howell was part of the Ipswich IP3 gang and Mr Quigley part of the Norwich Only The Money gang, or OTM.

At about 3.35pm on 17 January 2023, Howell and Hammett approached Mr Quigley wearing masks and carrying large knives on Westgate Street, Ipswich.

Hammett ran directly at Mr Quigley and attacked him while Howell chased his friends with a machete. Both Howell and Hammett then ran from the scene in opposite directions.

Following the attack, Mr Quigley staggered to a nearby shop for help and despite the efforts of members of the public who provided first aid, he died at the scene.

A post-mortem examination concluded that he sustained four stab wounds to the torso and died as a result of the injuries.

Hammett declined to give evidence throughout the trial. His defence team pointed to his young age and a “lack of maturity”.

The sentencing hearing was told that both Hammett and Howell were on bail for other offences when they committed the murder.

Hammett admitted assault ABH after an incident at Mojos nightclub in Norwich in September, 2022, which ended in him being tasered by police.

Howell was on bail for robbery and possessing a machete in Ipswich in July 2022.

The court also heard that on 2 January 2024, while Howell was being tried for murder, he had to be restrained after an incident in prison. When searched, prison officers found he had a toothbrush with razor blades mounted into the head.

Officers were called to Westgate Street in Ipswich at 3.55pm on 17 January 2023 Credit: ITV News Anglia

Tributes to Mr Quigley were left at the scene in the days following the murder.

One, signed from his mother, said: "Love you my beautiful son. Life will never be the same again. You will never leave my heart until I join you one day."

A week on, church bells in Ipswich tolled in honour of the teenager.

Last March, the family of Mr Quigley pleaded for members of the public to stop posting hurtful online videos and comments.

In a statement issued through Suffolk Police, his family said how the comments were "very upsetting for the family" and was preventing them from being able to "grieve in peace".

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