The Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said Gordon Gault’s death brought another devastating loss to a family in the region through knife crime.

Kim McGuinness was speaking in the wake of the convictions of two teenagers for the manslaughter of Gordon, following a lengthy trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was slashed in the upper right arm with a machete wielded by Carlos Neto, now aged 18, in a confrontation between rival groups of youths in the West End of Newcastle, in November 2022.

Fourteen-year-old Gordon, the youngest person involved in the incident, died from his injuries in hospital six days later, while a second youth, then aged 17, was seriously injured having been slashed in the back, also by Neto.

The Northern Echo: Kim McGuinness, bottom centre, speaks out about knife crime in the wake of the death  of Gordon

Neto, living at that time in Buddle Road, Benwell, Newcastle, but more recently of Little Hulton, Manchester, admitted both stabbings, but said he was acting in self-defence as he feared being attacked, himself, by members of the rival group.

The court heard he was supplied with the machete used in the attack by best friend Lawson Natty, also now 18, of Eastgarth, Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle.

Natty told the trial he mistakenly ordered two machetes online, so kept one for himself and handed the other to Neto.

Neto and Natty were among six teenagers cleared of Gordon’s murder, but both were found guilty of his manslaughter and the unlawful wounding of the other injured youth.

They have been remanded in custody to be sentenced at the court on March 8.

Speaking in the wake of the jury verdicts, Miss McGuinness, who has frequently spoken out about the dangers of carrying bladed weapons, said: “Knives impact everyone.

“Losing a child like this is the worst thing that could happen to any family and my heart goes out to Gordon’s family and others who have lost loved ones and whose lives have been forever changed as a result of violence.

“This has been a very challenging and complex investigation for everyone involved and my thanks go to our police officers and everyone who has worked hard on this difficult case.

“As a region we have been rocked by a series of heartbreaking deaths as a result of people carrying knives.

“Each tragedy reminds us how important all the anti-knife campaigning, diversion programmes and educational work we are doing is and this work won’t stop.

“We need everyone’s support to fight this crime though and so I urge parents, teachers, siblings, everyone, please have conversations about the consequences of knife crime.

“It’s more dangerous to carry a knife than it is not to. Knife crime has to stop.”

As part of the police investigation into the fatality a number of weapons were recovered, including both machetes.

Following the conclusion of the trial, the Senior Investigating Officer in the case, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Steel, of Northumbria Police, said: “This is an extremely tragic case in which a teenager, with his life ahead of him, had his future taken away.

“Our thoughts very much remain with Gordon’s loved ones, who have been left devastated by their loss. We will continue to support them at this extremely difficult time.

“Following this tragedy, officers have worked tirelessly for Gordon and his family. I thank them for their dedication and commitment.

“Those convicted had a choice and they chose violence.

“Their lives and those of the people who care about them have also been changed by the decisions they made.

“That should act as a lesson to anyone who goes out with a weapon, involves themselves in violence or encourages other to do so.”

He added: “As a force, we are committed to working with our partners to reduce the impact of knife crime.

“But this is not an issue policing can tackle alone.

“As a society we must all come together to prevent violence.

“This includes continuing to educate young people and talking about the pain and suffering caused by knife crime.

“Our message to anyone who does pick up a weapon or involves themselves in violence is simple, think again.

“Make that choice today for yourself, your family, your friends and your community.”

The Northern Echo:

Following the conclusion of the trial, Gordon’s mother, 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.

See more court coverage from The Northern Echo by clicking here

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“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.”

Four other teenagers who stood trial,18-year-olds Benedict Mbala, of St John’s Walk, Newcastle, and Daniel Lacerda, of Paddock Close, Ferryhill, County Durham, plus other youths, aged 17 and 16, were cleared both of Gordon’s murder and wounding the second injured youth, with intent.