How Reece Ottaway's murderers fancied themselves as the next big gang on Northampton's streets

In the months before Reece Ottaway's murder, Jodan Crowley and Adison Smith thought they were in place to be the next gang on Northampton's streets.
In the months before Reece Ottaway's murder, Jodan Crowley and Adison Smith thought they were in place to be the next gang on Northampton's streets.

The violent criminal pastimes of two murderers who fancied themselves as the frontmen of Northampton's next rising gang was laid bare in court as they were jailed on Friday.

This weekend, Adison Smith and Jordan Crowley [also known as Jordan Kimpton] began the first days of a combined 64-year sentence in jail for the murder of Reece Ottaway.

Reece Ottaway was murdered by Smith, Crowley and two others in Cordwainer House on February 1.

Reece Ottaway was murdered by Smith, Crowley and two others in Cordwainer House on February 1.

The pair - aged 20 and 21 respectively - were two of four young men jailed on Friday (Nov 1) for stabbing the 23-year-old to death in February. It will be more than 30 years before either of them are considered for release.

But at their sentencing last week, it was revealed just how much of a threat the pair posed to the public of Northampton.

Because Smith and Crowley were wanted for another savage attack at the time they murdered Reece Ottaway - one where they stabbed a complete stranger outside a pub in a bid to set themselves up as a new rival gang on Northampton's street.

The night of gang violence on October 3, 2018, was set out by prosecutor Mr David Herbert QC at Northampton Crown Court, who explained how the run up to the evening's attacks was captured on mobiles seized in evidence.

Adison Smith, 20, chased down and stabbed a man he thought was in a rival gang using a machete. The man was an innocent bystander.

Adison Smith, 20, chased down and stabbed a man he thought was in a rival gang using a machete. The man was an innocent bystander.

Pictures showed Crowley and Smith and three associates posing on the night of October 3 with machetes and 'Rambo' knives and making gang signs.

But officers didn't recognise the gang signs as part of any organised crime group they knew. It was new to them.

This was because Crowley, Smith and their cohorts fancied themselves as a new gang on Northampton's block. The signs were for their own gang, "04", also known as "D Block", that they were setting up in Duston.

And the plan that night was to make themselves known.

Jordan Crowley ordered for a man's face to be slashed with a knife because he didn't like the way he looked at him.

Jordan Crowley ordered for a man's face to be slashed with a knife because he didn't like the way he looked at him.

Mr Herbert said: "The group was identifying themselves as 'oh-four' or 'D Block', neither of which the police are aware of.

"But there is a gang the police is aware of that operate in the Lings, Billing and Blackthorn area.

"And these four were setting themselves up in distinction of this gang. That night, they planned to drive around looking for members of this gang to inflict on them."

The plan was senseless: drive into the rival gang's territory; find and stab one of their members; take pictures by a Blackthorn landmark or roadsign; then get out again.

The invasion of the rival gang's territory and the planned attack on one of their members was meant to establish themselves as a serious contender in the town.

With that, Crowley and Smith - along with Gavin Munro, 31, and James Metclafe, 20, as well as a third member - spent two hours driving around the gang's territory looking for trouble.

Pictures and videos seized by police showed "04" posing in the car with machetes and knives.

Another chilling picture was captured on CCTV at a convenience shop in Billing - where Smith posed for his gangmate with a machete tucked down his waistband.

But eventually, they picked a target.

Two men were smoking outside the Elwes Arms Tavern pub in Great Billing when the car pulled up to them.

Mr Herbert said: "One of the men in the car leaned out and said 'are you in [the rival gang]?' The two men said no.

"The car drove off. But stopped only a short way down the road.

"The five men, wearing masks and carrying weapons, got out of the car and walked back up to where the two men were sitting. They were going mob-handed to carry out the attack they had planned."

Immediately, Smith strode up to the two men, machete in hand. One of the smokers asked them to calm down and said again he wasn't part of any gang. And he wasn't lying - he was an innocent man.

But Smith had picked his victim. When the smoker turned to run, he felt three blows in the back. He later told police he thought he had been punched. In fact, Smith had just hacked him three times in the back with his machete.

The victim fell to the floor and the five attackers turned and ran back to the car.

Of course, 04 couldn't leave without celebrating. They stopped for their picture by a street sign. Then they drove back home to enjoy their night.

Videos seen by police from the after party showed Smith rapping his own homemade lyrics about the attack: "Watch me back my shank out, watch me spray, JK [Jordan Kimpton] showed me the way."

More pictures. More posing with knives and machetes. More messages to associates about how Smith was "all grown up".

But the night wasn't over.

Later that same night on Wellingborough Road, Crowley was refilling his car from a petrol can.

At the same time, an innocent man was walking home from work and saw Crowley. To him, it looked like the 21-year-old was urinating in his petrol tank.

That was when Crowley turned to return his stare. "What the **** are you looking at?", said Crowley.

The man tried to laugh it off and explain what he thought he was seeing.

But by then, Crowley didn't care. The 21-year-old rapped on the car window - and on his orders, a man inside jumped out the vehicle, ran up to the man and slashed him across the face with a knife.

In the space of less than five hours, Smith and Crowley had grievously wounded two complete strangers between them- for no better reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Four months on from these vicious attacks, Crowley and Smith and two others would stab Reece Ottaway to death in Cordwainer House.

They attacked Reece because they hoped to find up to £30,000 in cash and a stash of drugs in the flat. Instead, they fled the St James flat with an iPhone and a £10 note.

The lasting damage on both of the pair's earlier victims was read out in court.

The man slashed across the face says he has lost confidence and says he believes people stare at his scar.

The smoker outside the pub had to confront how he could have died in the attack, and can no longer hold a phone to his face for more than five minutes because of the pain in his back.

Crowley and Smith later pleaded guilty to the attacks on the second day of their trials. Their sentences was included alongside the life sentences they received for Reece's murder.

They will serve a minimum of 34 years and 30 years in prison respectively.

Meanwhile, Gavin Munro and James Tyler Metcalfe were jailed for 12 years and nine years respectively for their parts in the attacks.