Pair found not guilty of murdering Kieran Williams in Sunderland but one guilty of manslaughter

Louis Hackett, 20, has been found guilty of the manslaughter of Kieran Williams in Sunderland. He was cleared of murder. Credit: Northumbria Police

Pair found not guilty of murdering teenager found stabbed in makeshift grave

Two men have been found not guilty of the murder of a teenager who was found with multiple stab wounds and buried in a grave at a disused industrial estate.

Kieran Williams, 18, was found on the industrial estate six weeks after he went missing on 18 April 2022.

Ben Cook, 19, of Fordfield Road, and Louis Hackett, 20, of Fordenbridge Square, both Sunderland, have been standing trial accused of his murder.

Cook has now been cleared of all charges. Hackett was cleared of murder but has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Kieran Williams was found with multiple stab wounds in a makeshift grave on an industrial estate six weeks after he disappeared. Credit: Northumbria Police

Mr William's decomposing body was found in a makeshift grave, which had been concealed with sticks, leaves, litter and branches, on June 2 last year, near the Northern Spire bridge in Sunderland.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Williams had suffered "at least 20" stab wounds. and an attempt had been made to set his body alight when he was in the grave.

During the trial, Cook had told jurors that Hackett had killed Mr Williams. Cook denied playing any part in his killing or burial.

Hackett will be sentenced for manslaughter at a later date.

Speaking after the hearing, the case’s senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Steel, said: “My thoughts continue to be with Kieran’s family and loved ones following his tragic death.

“At this time, I would also like to thank them for their support and the composure which they have shown through the investigation and through the trial.

“This was as a shocking attack where Hackett was found responsible for fatally stabbing Kieran.

“I want to thank the team of officers and staff who have worked tirelessly on this case to ensure Hackett was put before the courts for his horrific and cowardly actions.

“At Northumbria Police, we are committed to working with partners to tackle knife crime and the cause of knife crime.

“Our message is clear – 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.”

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