MEMBERS of a drug dealing line from Colchester helped to cover for a teenager who stabbed a man to death in an alleyway, a court heard.

Daniel Saunders, 32, died in Trinity Street, Ipswich, after being knifed in the abdomen.

A 17-year-old from Bury St Edmunds – thought to be a drug runner - is alleged to have killed him as Mr Saunders and a friend went to purchase cocaine after hearing another dealer had been robbed in the area shortly before.

The teenager, who cannot be named because he is under 18, is allegedly part of a drug gang called Rico and Frank, who were using a vulnerable addict’s flat in Ipswich and a Premier Inn in Colchester as their base at the time Mr Saunders died in December.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the teenager and Benjamin Gosbell, 20, of Gratian Close, Colchester, went back to the hotel in the hours after the killing.

They met a 17-year-old from Colchester, a 16-year-old from Bury St Edmunds and Arjun Jadeja, 18, of The Nook, Wivenhoe, and the alleged killer’s phone was deactivated.

The prosecution claims they changed the teenager’s clothes and the other boy from Bury St Edmunds got an unknowing cleaner to dispose of them.

The trio from Colchester then left in a taxi, before the two boys from Suffolk were picked up by Olusola Durojaiye – a man alleged to have worked as a driver for the group.

He took them to a caravan in Beach Road, St Oysth, owned by Jadeja’s family, where the alleged killer remained for four days away from the police investigation.

During that time, Jadeja and Gosbell and the boy accused of murder returned to Ipswich and threatened the man whose flat they had used to keep quiet.

During the visit, Gosbell mimicked Mr Saunders, which the prosecution says indicates he knew what had happened.

Opening the case, Simon Spence QC said: “Knowing he had been involved in a stabbing, each of the defendants came to his assistance.

“The prosecution suggest Mr Saunders’ killer was his drug supplier, assisted by five of his friends to leave Ipswich, change his clothes and give him a safe haven at a mobile home in Essex belonging to the mother of one of the defendants many miles away from the police investigation.”

He described Gosbell and the alleged killer as “something of a double act”.

He said Durojaiye, of Appleton Mews, Colchester, was “not some jobbing taxi driver but an important and knowing member of the team”.

In the days before Mr Saunders was killed, Durojaiye, 33 is said to have driven members of the group to Southend to a

shop for them to buy large knives.

When they were challenged about their age, it is alleged he went in and vouched for them so they could complete the purchase.

The 17-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds denies murder and manslaughter. The other defendants all deny assisting an offender.

n The trial continues.