Gordon Gault: Judge criticises drill music after boy, 14, was fatally stabbed in gang feud

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Gordon Gault Credit: PA Media

A judge has criticised drill music as a "pernicious genre" after it played a role in stoking violence between two gangs, which led to a 14-year-old being fatally stabbed in the street.

'Drill' is a subgenre of hip hop music, similar to rap, but it can contain more violent or aggressive lyrics.

Gordon Gault was stabbed on the arm with a machete as he rode on the back of a friend’s e-bike in Newcastle’s West End in November 2022 and died six days later in hospital.

Six teenagers went on trial at Newcastle Crown Court and were cleared of murder, but Carlos Neto, 18, of Salford, Greater Manchester, and Lawson Natty, 18, of Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle, were convicted of manslaughter.

Gang leader Carlos Neto, who was influenced by drill music Credit: Northumbria Police/PA

Neto stabbed Gordon in a surprise attack, jurors heard, while Natty was the one who supplied him with the machete he had bought online.

The pair were also convicted of unlawfully wounding the other victim, who was slashed in the back by Neto.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer sentenced Neto to nine years and two months while Natty, who was born in Belgium, was sentenced to 32 months, after which he could face deportation.

The judge said a feud had simmered between Neto’s gang, who had an interest in drill music, and rival youths in Elswick.

Sentencing, he said: “This is a pernicious genre of music in that it tends to glorify violence.”

Neto said he was inspired by rappers and their lifestyle, their money, fame, cars and watches.

Lawson Natty, who supplied a machete to his friend Carlos Neto Credit: Northumbria Police/PA

He liked the rappers’ masculine image and the respect they earned, telling jurors during his trial: "Without these things, my chances of success were zero".

The judge said the young man could not have been "more wrong", and with maturity he will see that.

"You still have a future," he told Neto. "Sadly, Gordon Gault does not."

Gordon’s mother read a victim impact statement to the court, urging people not to carry knives. She wept as she said: "The devastation your actions cause is unimaginable."

Gordon’s grandmother Frances Gault referred to offensive raps and remarks Neto made after the killing.

She said: “Mocking him and gloating about these actions absolutely crushed me.

“No remorse has ever been shown and I can never forgive this.”

One of two weapons recovered as part of the investigation by Northumbria Police into the death of Gordon Gault Credit: Northumbria Police/PA

The fatal attack on Gordon was the culmination of escalating "tit-for-tat violence" between the gangs, which included Neto being stabbed in the buttocks in the weeks previously.

It had begun with a rival making a "diss track" making fun of Natty’s appearance, the court heard.

Neto led a group of six to infiltrate Elswick Park, where they were spotted by a larger group of rivals, causing them to retreat.

Gordon, armed with a baseball bat, was stabbed as he was isolated riding on the back of a friend’s speedy e-bike, then a separate clash followed in a nearby street.

The judge praised Northumbria Police’s inquiry, which came faced with of a wall of silence from those involved on both sides.

He also heard how Natty, a church-goer, was remorseful and had prayed for Gordon and his family, was “intelligent” and had won a place at university which he had now lost.

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