Alveston man cleared of murder charge after man stabbed to death in front of crowd
AN ALVESTON man has been found not guilty of murder after a man was stabbed to death outside a community centre.
Three other people, including two men from Speedwell in Bristol, were convicted of murdering Andre Gayle, who was stabbed nine times during the attack, which happened in an alleyway close to Easton Community Centre just after 3am on August 31 last year.
The 29-year-old father of six young children died of his injuries two days later at Bristol Royal Infirmary.
After a trial at Bristol Crown Court, Rico Corbin (above, left) and Tyan Finlayson (above, centre), who are both 28 and from Speedwell, were convicted of murder, along with a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
A fourth defendant, Jerome Lewis, 25, from London (above, right), pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
A fifth man, 40-year-old Daniel Atkinson, of Quarry Mead in Alveston, was found not guilty.
CCTV evidence seen by the jury showed Mr Gayle (below) being chased through an alleyway off Kilburn Street, next to Easton Community Centre, immediately before the attack, which happened in front of a crowd of people taking part in a 'silent disco'.
Detective Inspector Roger Doxsey, of the police's Major Crime Investigation Team, described Mr Gayle's killing as "senseless", and said the motive had "never been fully understood".
The CCTV and other evidence showed that Lewis and Corbin had struck the fatal blows, "assisted and encouraged" by Finlayson and the boy.
DI Doxsey said 14 people had been arrested, more than 500 statements taken, more than 2,000 exhibits seized and CCTV examined from more than 90 cameras.
He said: "This was a savage, vicious and unrestrained attack on an unarmed man by a group of cowardly individuals who acted together, and who were prepared to use knives to achieve their objective.
“They showed a total disregard to other members of the public who were in the immediate vicinity, which included another innocent man who was repeatedly stabbed in a case of mistaken identity, but who thankfully survived his injuries."
DI Doxsey thanked witnesses who came forward to give evidence and paid tribute to Mr Gayle's family for their "courage and dignity".
Mr Gayle's mother said in a statement: “My family is grief-stricken and struggling to come to terms with not only losing my son but also the brutality and senseless evil in the way they attacked and killed him; it was tantamount to a public execution.
“These men are fearless, remorseless and have shown total disregard for people in the community of Bristol and caused innocent bystanders to flee in terror at what was unfolding in front of them. During this trial we have had to watch CCTV footage of Andre’s last moments alive, which has been harrowing: the pain is immeasurable.''
“It is still hard to accept that he is gone and I personally don’t think I will ever be able to accept the loss. Too many parents are losing and have lost their sons and family members to this epidemic of knife crime and I want my grandchildren, Andre’s children, to be safe and have a future without these murderers walking amongst us.
His father said: “Seeing my son lying in the hospital bed, completely motionless, being kept alive by machines – my boy, who had so much energy and spirit – his life taken from us: no parent should have to bury their son.
“My son, who is also a father, will never see his children grown up – not only have I lost a son, his children have also lost a father. Andre’s siblings, who too are devastated by his death, will never be able to have a relationship with him. So many lives destroyed by the hands of these vicious murderers."
Corbin, Finlayson, Lewis and the teenager will be sentenced on July 5.