A teenager who boasted about carrying a weapon in a series of online messages in the days leading up to the fatal stabbing of Gordon Gault has denied he was armed that night.

Daniel Lacerda, from Ferryhill, County Durham, made several references to knives and weapons before a ‘beef’ between two groups of teenagers spiralled into devastating violence.

The 18-year-old told Newcastle Crown Court that he was just trying to ‘act hard’ in the messages and was not carrying any sort of weapon the night the teenager was stabbed.

Lacerda, along with five other teens, is accused of murdering 14-year-old Gordon and seriously injuring another teenager in Elswick, Newcastle.

The violence erupted early on the evening of Wednesday, November 9 last year, when, the prosecution maintains, the group of friends travelled to the city’s west end to deliver retribution after one of them had been humiliated.

Jurors had heard how mobile phone footage of Benedict Mbala being attacked by a rival group of teenagers was shared across social media.

The Northern Echo: Gordon Gault, 14, died in hospital from stab wounds inflicted in confrontation with rival group in Elswick, Newcastle, in November last yearGordon Gault, 14, died in hospital from stab wounds inflicted in confrontation with rival group in Elswick, Newcastle, in November last year (Image: Northumbria Police)

Giving evidence, Lacerda said he was not aware of anyone carrying weapons when he joined his co-defendants as they made their way to Elswick Park.

His barrister, Toby Hedworth KC, asked the teenager: “Did you encourage anybody else to use violence?” He simply replied: “No.”

He asked: “Did you help anyone else to use violence?” Again, he replied: "No.”

The defendant told the jury that he didn’t know many of his co-accused very well and had met them through a mutual friend.

When asked about the content of the WhatsApp messages, Lacerda replied: “I was just acting hard. I was just showing off. I just wanted to be accepted. I really didn’t think it through.”

The teenager said he didn’t see anyone getting stabbed and ran away when he was confronted by a group of teenagers but accepted that Carlos Neto had pulled out a machete when he was faced by an armed rival.

Under cross examination from prosecution barrister, Jonathan Sandiford KC, the defendant admitted that he had taken off his jacket when he got on a bus to travel home in case he was recognised by his rivals.

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The barrister quizzed Lacerda about the meaning of some of the phrases he used in the WhatsApp messages including to ‘glide’ into enemy land, saying ‘the beef is too hot’ and ‘lacking’ – not being armed.

“I only used them to try to fit in,” he said. “When I look back at these chats it’s a bit cringey.”

The teenager denies carrying weapon on the night of the fatal attack.

Lacerda, 18, now of Paddock Close, Ferryhill, Neto, 18, of Manchester Road East, Manchester, Lawson Natty, 18, of Eastgarth, Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle, Mbala, 18, of Saint Johns Walk, Newcastle, and two youths who cannot be identified, all deny murder and wounding with intent.

The trial continues.