All six teenagers accused of the killing Gordon Gault were today (Monday, January 15) cleared of his murder, but two were found guilty of the alternative of manslaughter.

Similarly, all six were also cleared of wounding with intent, relating to a second teenage victim, who suffered serious injuries, but the same two who were convicted of the manslaughter of Gordon Gault, Carlos Neto and Lawson Natty, were also found guilty of the alternative of unlawful wounding in that case.

The verdicts, delivered at Newcastle Crown Court shortly after the lunch break, brought an end to a trial that began on November 14.

It stems from a background of tit-for-tat violence and online threats between rival groups of mostly teenagers from neighbouring areas in the West End of Newcastle, in the summer and autumn of 2022.

The Northern Echo: Carlos Neto, inset left, and Lawson Natty, right, convicted of the manslaughter of Gordon Gault,

On the day of the fatal incident, November 9, 2022, a member of the defendant’s group, Benedict Mbala, was said to have been attacked outside his college.

Footage of the incident was posted online, mocking Mbala and other members of the Benwell group, by the perpetrators, said to be from the neighbouring Elswick area of the city.

The prosecution alleged that members of the Benwell group set off that evening into “rival territory” on a revenge mission.

Four were armed, Neto and Natty, both now aged 18, with machetes bought online by Natty.

The defendants claimed they went to Elswick on the evening to take photographs to show they were not intimidated by their rivals.

The Northern Echo:

In a confrontation that arose just outside of Elswick Park, at about 6.15pm Gordon Gault, who was carrying a baseball bat while riding pillion passenger on an electric bike ridden by a friend, was slashed across the arm by Neto.

He suffered serious injuries from which he died in hospital six days later.

A shot time later a second teenager, aged 17, at the time, was slashed in the back, also by Neto, suffering serious injuries from which he survived.

The six defendants then made their way back to Benwell and attempts were made to hide and dispose of the weapons used and some of the clothes worn by them during the incident.

In due course members of the group were arrested and interviewed, before being charged.

A feature of the case was said to be the drill-type rap videos posted online by the defendants, said to be glorifying their actions and mocking those they attacked.

Neto, who was living in Newcastle, but moved to Manchester in the wake of the incident, admitted wielding both the fatal knife blow and the one which seriously injured the second youth.

He agreed, but said it was done in self-defence as he and members of the Benwell group were retreating from Elswick and came under attack themselves.

Natty, of Eastgarth, Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle, accepted having ordered the machetes online and agreed he supplied one to Neto, but he claimed it was for use in videos they planned to take.

Following several weeks of evidence in November and December, the judge, Mr Justice Martin Spencer, summed up and gave directions of law, on Monday and Tuesday last week, after which the jury retired to begin considering its verdicts.

Having returned guilty verdicts to both Neto and Natty on the alternative charges of manslaughter and unlawful wounding, the jury returned not guilty verdicts to all murder and wounding with intent counts in relation to Benedict Mbala, of St John’s Walk, Newcastle, and Daniel Lacerda, of Paddock Close, Ferryhill, County Durham, both also now aged 18, plus co-accused aged 17 and 16.

They were all then discharged and told they were free to go, by the judge.

He ordered Neto and Natty to remain in custody, in which they have been detained since they were charged and told them they would be brought back to court to be sentenced on Friday March 8.

Mr Recorder Martin Spencer also asked for preparation of background reports by the Probation Service on both Neto and Natty ahead of the sentencing hearing.

The judge asked for the report author to consider the perceived dangerousness posed by Neto, as the knife wielder.

He then thanked the jurors and counsel in the case, as well as the members of the public in the court gallery, who complied with his wish to maintain their dignity and composure on the delivery of the verdicts.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

Jury in Gordon Gault murder case sent home with no verdict yet reached

Summing up of evidence in Gordon Gault murder trial at Newcastle

Gordon Gault: Teenagers exaggerated 'for the sake of music'

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Following the conclusion of the trial, Gordon’s loving mum Dionne Barrett paid a heartfelt tribute to her son.

She said: “We as a family will never get over Gordon’s death.

“To those who didn’t know Gordon he was a practical joker, always laughing and had a heart of gold.

“He cared for his family and friends so much. He was a big softy and loved his dog, Bruno.

“He was such a happy, loving young son who lit up the room with his energy.

“Life will simply never be the same without him.

“It breaks my heart that I will never get to hear him say ‘I love you Mam’ again.

“I am hugely grateful for the support and kind wishes since Gordon passed away. It is heartening to know that he has touched so many lives and his memory will live on.

“I want youngsters to understand the huge dangers of carrying knives.

“By carrying knives, you could not only ruin your life but that of your family and friends as well. 

“In a split-second you could end someone’s life and destroy your own.

“Please, please think twice about getting involved in this kind of behaviour.

“I’d also like to thank the investigation team from Northumbria Police and the Prosecution Barristers.”