A killer released on licence over the death of a teenager has been sentenced for harbouring a childhood friend wanted by police for another murder.

Ally Gordon, who was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for the fatal attack on 18-year-old Connor Brown, was living in Billingham when he let Anthony Keating lay low from detectives.

Keating, along with Louis Whelan, carried out a savage attack on 22-year-old Blaine Hammond in Sunderland after a row over £20 and knew he was a wanted man.

The Northern Echo: Ally Gordon Ally Gordon (Image: Contributor)Newcastle Crown Court was told Gordon, now 24, allowed him to stay at his flat in Melsonby Court out of a ‘misplaced sense of loyalty’ for two days until they were both arrested on December 5, 2021.

Keating and Whelan were jailed for life with minimum terms of 14 years in January, while Gordon - who moved to Scotland but remained under investigation -was re-arrested in June.  

Kate Barnes, prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court today (Monday, November 6), said: “His mobile phone was forensically examined.

 “Messages suggest he knew Keating was on the run because he said ‘he is on the run like me’ which refers to a time when Ally Gordon was wanted over the death of a man called Connor Brown, an offence for which he was later convicted.   

“He denied being aware of any media showing there had been an attack in Sunderland in 2021 - however, searches of his phone showed this to be incorrect.”

The Northern Echo: Anthony Keating Anthony Keating (Image: Contributor)The Northern Echo: Louis Whelan Louis Whelan (Image: Contributor)The Northern Echo: Blaine Hammond Blaine Hammond (Image: Contributor)

Gordon, formerly of Polmuir Road, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to assisting an offender between December 2 and 6, 2021.

Adam Birkby, mitigating, said: “The connection between him and Keating was one of friendship.

“The amount of time Keating was at large was relatively short.

“It was less than 48 hours.

“He did not try to assist him to leave. He did not try to destroy or dispose of any evidence.”

The court told how, in 2019, Gordon kicked and stamped on 18-year-old boxer Connor Brown after he had been stabbed by Leighton Barrass in an alley near  Gatsby’s pub in Sunderland.

Barrass was subsequently jailed for life for murder while Gordon was convicted of manslaughter and received a three-and-a-half year sentence.

The Northern Echo: Connor Brown Connor Brown (Image: Contributor)Judge Robert Adams said Gordon’s previous conviction was an ‘aggravating factor’ in the case.

The judge said: “The author of the pre-sentence report believes you showed a high degree of naivety, immaturity and misplaced loyalty to Mr Keating.

“It was thought you sought to minimise your offending.

“You were only 22 at the time. Keating was described as a childhood friend who you had known for some 17 years.”

Gordon was released from prison in November 2020 having served half of his sentence for manslaughter and was on licence until August 2022.

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“Your account is you had been told there had been a fight and he needed to get out of the area for a while.

“You believed you were just trying to help a good mate. You didn’t realise the seriousness at the time, you say, that someone had been killed.

“It seems to me that it would be very surprising that before the arrest of Mr Keating you weren’t aware of what Mr Keating was trying to evade responsibility for.

“You say had you known the gravity from the outset you would not have helped him in the first place.”

The court was told Gordon claimed he told Keating to hand himself in and to speak to a solicitor.

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Judge Adams, sentencing him to three years and four months imprisonment, said: “You say when he came your address he gave you a more detailed account of what he was involved with and you say you advised him to contact his solicitor rather than burying his head in the sand but you would allow him stay for a couple of days.

“It is thought there are deficits in your thinking skills and you have demonstrated pro-criminal attitudes.

“When asked why you did not phone the police when you understood the gravity of what had happened you said: “I am not a grass, I am not going to phone the police on him, he was a friend. I have a lot of love for him.”

“Your loyalty to him overbore the need to do the right thing.”