Father of Northampton's Reece Ottaway speaks out about family's pain one year on from his son's murder

The father of a Northampton man who was murdered by a gang of drug dealers has spoken out about his family's ordeal nearly a year to the day since his son's death.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 4:17 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 10:44 am

Reece Ottaway, 23, was killed in a vicious botched robbery at a flat in Cordwainer House, St James, by five men on February 1, 2019.

The gang - who were armed with a machete, a baseball bat, a knife and a BB gun - broke down the door to the flat with a plan to rob Reece of "£30,000" and a haul of drugs.

Instead, in the chaotic two minutes that followed, they stabbed Reece to death and left with a iPhone and a £10 note.

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Reece was described as a popular man who was "in the wrong kind of work" for who he really was.

Reece's killers were sentenced to a total of more than 100 years in November 2019 - but now, his father David has spoken out about his family's grief for the first time almost a year after his son's death.

BBC Northampton reported how Mr Ottaway had to break the news to his ex-wife over the phone - and says he has to "live with the noise" of her screams when she heard what happened.

He told the BBC: "To hear the scream and crying - I've got to live with that noise in my head for the rest of my life.

"All I heard was screaming 'my baby's gone, they've took my baby, they've killed my baby'."

Mr Ottaway said he "didn't want to believe it" when the police first knocked on his door at 3am, just two hours after his son's murder - but officers then detailed the two distinctive tattoos on both of Reece's hands.

"I knew at that very moment my whole world had just come crashing down on me, my firstborn child taken," he said.

Reece's family knew their son was selling cannabis in the years leading up to his death. He was targeted by two of his killers, Jordan Crowley, 21, and Adison Smith 20, in the hopes of robbing him of drugs in the attack.

When the gang of killers was sentenced, Reece's step dad, Lee Marshall, wrote in a statement: "We knew what Reece did for a living and he knew it was against our wishes. But sometimes, he talked about how much he wanted to 'go straight' and open a bagel shop.

"He was in the wrong kind of work for the true person he was."

And Reece's mum, Charlotte Marshall, bravely stood in the witness box to tell her son's killers how their actions had hurt her family.

She told the gang: "No parent should have to face such a heart-breaking, gut-wrenching ordeal.

"Me and my children will never be the same. We're broken. Our lives have been changed forever. Reece was taken by the cruellest attack imaginable."

At court, Jordan Crowley, 21, and Adison Smith 20, were jailed for life with a minimum term of 34 and 30 years in prison respectively.

Alfie Drage, 20, and Cameron Higgs, 20, were also jailed for life each with a minimum term of 27 years.

Ethan Stirling, 22, NFA, was jailed for 14 years for manslaughter and conspiracy to rob.