What led to Gordon Gault falling victim to knife crime?

Our Correspondent Kris Jepson explains what happened the night schoolboy Gordon Gault was stabbed

Newcastle schoolboy, Gordon Gault, was just 14 years old when he was stabbed by Carlos Neto with a machete in the Elswick area of Newcastle on 9 November 2022, before dying six days later in hospital.

On 8 March, 18-year-old Carlos Neto was sentenced to nine years, two months, and friend Lawson Natty sentenced to 32 months in prison for the manslaughter of schoolboy Gordon Gault.

Neto told the jury he had acted in self defence when using the machete.

During the trial, the jury heard how the stabbing came amidst the backdrop of tit-for-tat violence between two feuding gangs of teenagers.

The court heard Carlos Neto had allegedly been stabbed in the buttocks weeks before the incident and was seeking revenge. His “best friend”, Lawson Natty, managed to buy two large machetes online, according to the prosecution, which they both carried into Elswick Park on the night Gordon was stabbed.

The court heard the boys hid behind the West End Women’s and Girl’s Centre near the northern entrance of the park, scouting out potential targets, just after 6pm that evening.

Meanwhile, back at Sovereign Place, north of the park, it appeared Gordon Gault and his friends had become aware that the defendants were in the park.

CCTV played during the trial, showed Gordon Gault retrieving a metal baseball bat from a bush and some blue latex gloves.

He was then shown walking towards the north entrance of the park with his friends, who were riding bikes.

As three of Gordon’s friends rode their bikes through the park, CCTV at the women’s centre showed the defendants watching them, before moving towards the North East entrance of the park to lay in wait.

The jury was shown CCTV, taken minutes later, showing Gordon and his friends gathering on Elswick Road, north of the park, and then splitting up into three smaller groups, each taking a different route to the south end of the park.

Gordon Gault was seen on CCTV riding pillion on the back of an e-bike, with his friend, down Beech Grove Road towards Westmorland Road, south of the park.

The jury was told the police believe Carlos Neto caught Gordon Gault unawares near a bus stop on Westmorland Road.

The jury was told he stabbed Gordon in his arm with a machete, severing vital blood vessels and causing extensive bleeding. Neto told the jury he acted in self defence.

As Gordon was taken back to Sovereign Place on the bike, he left a trail of blood and dropped the baseball bat.

When he arrived in Sovereign Place, CCTV showed him slumping off the bike and medics were then called to the scene.

Meanwhile, back in Brunel Terrace, just off Westmorland Road, a fight ensued between the remaining teenagers armed with machetes, knives and a mallet.

The jury was told another boy was slashed by Carlos Neto’s machete, but he survived.

Again Neto told the jury he acted in self defence. The fight broke off when a witness drove her car between the youths.

Gordon Gault died in hospital on the 15 November 2022 with his mum by his side.

When passing sentence, Mr Justice Martin Spencer commented on the dangers and the prevalence of knife crime.

He said: "This is what is liable to happen when young people arm themselves with these kinds of weapons.”

“Too many young lives have been lost as a result [of knife crime] and other lives ruined in consequence. ..Too many of these types of cases are appearing in court."