THE TEENAGER convicted of the manslaughter of Taylor Williams first became involved in drugs to support his family, a court has heard.

Terence Maccabee, now 20, was sentenced to 13 years in prison following his involvement in the altercation that led to the death of Taylor Williams in 2019.

Now, a court has been told how Maccabee first became involved in drug dealing to earn extra money for his family when he was younger.

This resulted in numerous scrapes with the law, including being issued with a suspended prison sentence after he was caught with a 15 inch predator knife at a train station in Exeter.

Maccabee, who had turned 18 just four days before the incident in February 2019, had been catching a train from Exeter St David's station back to London when British Transport Police suspected he was part of a county lines gang.

When searched, officers found the handle of the blade coming out of his waistband.

He had been given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for one year, which was still active when he was involved in the incident in Shooters Way.

The court also heard he had previous convictions for possessing a knife at school in 2016 and had appeared in court for battery and threatening someone in 2017.

Maccabee's defence solicitor, Tana Adkin QC, told Winchester Crown Court on Tuesday that the 20-year-old's family was poor, and he started dealing drugs to make more money to support his family.

"Losing his father at the age of 9 and his upbrinigng thereafter may give an explanation not an excuse as to how he found his way into a lifestyle of smoking cannabis and spending his time dealing drugs," she told the court.

"We do not submit that Maccabee is a victim, but we look for some explanation onto how he found his way to Basingstoke on the 31st August and was involved in what took place.

"The reference to cannabis misuse is a matter the court may take into account as an aggravating feature, but it came about after he was without an education."

About 4-6 weeks before the murder of Taylor Williams, Maccabee was driven to Basingstoke by a drug lord he worked for, and would act as his 'tracker'.

This means he was responsible for giving drugs to runners for them to deal, and then collecting money to feed back to his boss.

It was there, whilst moving around houses that had been cuckooed, that Macabee met Olamide Soyege, the 'enforcer' of the drugs line.

Judge Martin Spencer described him as Soyege's "understudy", adding: "Although you were not close friends, you were friendly with each other."

On the night of August 30, 2019, Maccabee stayed at Soyege's father's house in Overton.

However, this friendship broke down during the murder trial, held at Winchester Crown Court last year. As previously reported, the court heard how Soyege had written to Maccabee telling him to lie when giving evidence.

However, Maccabee admitted this during the trial, prompting Soyege to shout at him from the dock. The two did not appear together at the trial after that.

Ms Adkin continued to say that the 20-year-old had shown "genuine remorse", and had pledged to better himself whilst in custody.

He had gained English qualifications since his arrest and remand into custody in September 2019, and become an "avid reader".

"There is reason to think that what happened on 31st August has had a lasting impact, is a turning point and a line in the sand."

Maccabee was sentenced to a total term of 13 years in prison, of which he will serve at least two thirds before being released on licence.

He was giving a four year sentence for robbery and 12 years for conspiracy to rob, but these will be served concurrently.

Additionally, a four-month jail term for the knife possession in Exeter was activated, but this too will be concurrent.

The sentence will be reduced by 353 days to reflect time spent remanded in custody, and it will start immediately, despite him also serving a 16-month sentence at a youth offenders' institute for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.