Teen who stabbed dad Nathaniel Wardle outside his Wallsend home convicted of manslaughter not murder

Mohammed Rabani (top right) is facing prison for the manslaughter of Nathaniel Wardle outside his Wallsend home in June. Credit: NCJM

A teenager has been convicted of killing a dad from Wallsend but he and two others were cleared of murder.

Mohammed Rabani, 19, is facing prison for the manslaughter of 45-year-old Nathaniel Wardle outside his home, though jurors found him not guilty of murder.

Robbie Battista and a 17-year-old who cannot be named were cleared of murder and manslaughter.

Jurors at Newcastle Crown Court were told that in the early afternoon of 20 June the trio were in the area looking for someone else.

When Mr Wardle, known as Natty, returned home to Holy Cross, Wallsend, he was stabbed by Rabani in his front garden.

The knife entered his heart and Mr Wardle died very quickly despite extensive efforts by neighbours and medics to save him.

The court heard Rabani was a student at college at the time but left at lunchtime on the day of the crime. Credit: NCJM

Prosecutors said the teenagers were looking for someone after a social media dispute. During the trial, prosecutor Sharon Beattie KC said: "(The youth) said when interviewed by police there had been social media disputes and threats made but no meetings between them.

"Therefore it may be suggested this arose out of teenage social media or local disputes. What's clear is they were not looking for Nathaniel Wardle."

The court heard Rabani was a student at college at the time but left at lunchtime on the day of the killing.

The weapon used. Credit: NCJM

Rabani, of Weldon Crescent, Heaton, and Battista, 18, of Holystone Crescent, had admitted having a knife each that day. The youth was found not guilty of having an offensive weapon.

Rabani and Battista will be sentenced week commencing 20 February.

Speaking after the hearing, Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Louise Jenkins said: “First and foremost, our thoughts remain with Nathaniel’s loved ones following his tragic death and they will continue to receive specialist support from our officers.

“I want to make it clear that there are no winners where knife crime or serious violence is concerned – and we will continue to take robust action against those found to be involved.

“As a force we are committed to tackling violent crime and by working with partners we will continue to play our part in ensuring the region remains one of the safest in the country.”

Mr Wardle's family describe him as a "funny and generous man". Credit: NCJM

In a statement Nathaniel’s family said: "Our hearts remain broken, Natty was an incredible father who loved spending time with his kids, so having our first Christmas and New Year without him has been unimaginably difficult.

“Not only has the loss been felt as we have been together as a family but having the ordeal of a trial during this time has only added to the pain we’ve felt.

"We also find comfort in knowing those who knew Natty can remember the funny and generous man he was and smile. He will be greatly missed but will still always be a part of our lives through his children who he loved so much."

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