Five men sentenced to 135 years over death of Reece Ottaway


November 01, 2019 - 346 views

Five men have been jailed for a total of 135 years after being convicted of killing 23-year-old Reece Ottaway in Northampton on February 1.

Cameron Higgs, aged 20, Jordan Crowley (also known as Jordan Kimpton), aged 21, Alfie Drage, aged 20, and Adison Smith, aged 20, were given life sentences for Reece’s murder.

Ethan Sterling, aged 22, was given a 14-year sentence after being found guilty of manslaughter.

Their six-week trial heard how Crowley had previously bought cannabis from Reece before the five defendants came up with a plan to rob him of drugs and cash.

After bursting into his flat at Cordwainer House, in Byfield Road, at around 1.20am on February 1, the group attacked Reece with weapons including a machete, knife, BB gun and baseball bat, before fleeing with just two mobile phones and a £10 note.

Despite the best efforts of his friends, police and paramedics, Reece died at the scene.

Sentencing the five at Northampton Crown Court today, Friday, November 1, Judge Adrienne Lucking said: “In the early hours of February 1, 2019, all five of you joined in a conspiracy to rob Reece Ottaway, expecting him to have received a delivery of drugs and possess up to £30,000 in cash.

“Reece Ottaway was seen by your group as a rival drug dealer.

“As a group you attacked him, inflicting 22 wounds, of which three were fatal, and other injuries.”

She added she was satisfied Reece was never in possession of a knife during the incident.

Speaking outside court, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Joe Banfield, of the EMSOU Major Crime Team, said: “I would like to commend Reece Ottaway’s family and friends, particularly his parents and step-parents, for the dignified way they have conducted themselves throughout the trial. It has been an extremely difficult time for them, made more difficult at times due to the attitude and behaviour of the defendants and some of those who attended court in support of them. 

“There are no winners today. No one is making excuses for Reece’s lifestyle or how he chose to make his money. What I can say is that Reece was a much-loved young man who lost his life in horrific circumstances, and his family will never fully recover from his loss. Five other young men have quite rightly been sent to prison and will spend the rest of their youth and a significant part of the rest of their lives behind bars.

“This successful outcome demonstrates the ability of Northamptonshire Police to respond to and investigate the most serious crimes committed within our county. My team, the reviewing lawyer and the two counsel engaged on this case have worked tirelessly to bring these young men to justice and today’s sentences are the culmination of a high-quality nine-month long investigation. 

“Lastly, I hope these sentences send a very loud and very clear message to those that believe they can make money by taking from others and those that see the carrying and use of knives as acceptable. It is far from acceptable and this tragic case demonstrates the futility and consequences of knife-related crime.”

Higgs, of Chestnut Close, Milton Malsor, was sentenced to custody for life with a minimum term of 28 years for murder, and 12 years for conspiracy to commit robbery, to be served concurrently.

Crowley (also known as Kimpton), of Sam Harrison Way, Duston, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 34 years for murder and 11 years and three months for conspiracy to commit robbery, to be served concurrently.

He was also sentenced to two extended sentences totalling 15 years, to be served concurrently, for two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent for his part in a machete attack on a man in Northampton’s Eastern District on the night of October 3, 2018, and an attack in Wellingborough Road, Northampton, in the early hours of October 4, 2018, where a man was slashed in the face with a knife.

Drage, of Clover Street, Upton, was sentenced to custody for life with a minimum term of 28 years for murder, and 13 years and six months for conspiracy to commit robbery, to be served concurrently. A suspended sentence for affray was also activated, to be served concurrently.

Smith, of no fixed address, was sentenced to custody for life with a minimum term of 31 years for murder, and 12 years for conspiracy to commit robbery, to be served concurrently.

Smith was also sentenced to 10 years and nine months, with an extended licence period of three years and four months, for one count of grievous bodily harm with intent for his part in the October 3, 2018, attack in Northampton, and a total of four years and four months, also to be served concurrently, after admitting trying to smuggle heroin, cannabis and three mini mobile phones into Bedford prison in January 2018.

Sterling, of Baukewell Court, Lumbertubs, was sentenced to 14 years for manslaughter, and 14 years after he was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, to be served concurrently.

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