A teenage drug dealer who admitted terrorising his neighbourhood has been found not guilty of murdering his 62-year-old ‘father figure’.

The 17-year-old admitted he was holding the homemade ‘slam-gun’ at the time of the fatal shooting but maintained that it went off by accident.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had an obsession with weapons and would regularly mess around with a homemade ‘slam-gun’ stashed at Alan Garbutt’s Guisborough flat.

And in the hours before the fatal shooting the teenager admitted taking a cocktail of drugs while he continuing to deliver drugs to customers in the town.

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Today, the teenager was cleared of murder and the alternative charge of manslaughter after jurors found him not guilty after around nine hours of deliberations.

The 17-year-old picked up a homemade ‘slam-gun’ and started pointing at people when he became incensed when some of his illicit prescription drugs went missing.

The Northern Echo: Alan GarbuttAlan Garbutt

During his trial, the jury heard how Mr Garbutt died from a single gunshot wound to the chest after he was fatally injured in his Guisborough flat in the early hours of August 8 last year.

Judge Howard Crowson released the defendant with immediate effect.

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard how several people were in Mr Garbutt’s flat in Helmsley House, Guisborough, at the time of the alleged murder and CCTV from inside the building showed them all leaving the scene.

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The teenager was seen running away from the scene before throwing the weapon – which has never been recovered - into a nearby field.

During his trial, the teenager remained adamant that the weapon went off by accident and he simply ‘panicked’.

He told jurors that he treated Mr Garbutt like a ‘father figure’ after he let him live in his flat and never intended to hurt him.