Nafeza : Four men guilty of ammonia attack murder in crime spree

Nafeza : Four men guilty of ammonia attack murder in crime spree
Nafeza : Four men guilty of ammonia attack murder in crime spree

Thursday 13 June 2024 10:46 PM

newsonline - Four men have been found guilty of killing a man during a series of ammonia attacks meant to intimidate rival drug dealers, Northumbria Police have said.

A young woman, who police said was not meant to be targeted, lost her eye in one of three attacks between 9-16 August last year in South Tyneside

On 20 August, two of the men knocked on 26-year-old Andy Foster's front door and sprayed him in the face before stealing from inside the address in Eighton Terrace in Wrekenton, Gateshead.

Mr Foster was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries as he struggled to breathe.

Image: Murder victim Andy Foster, who police say was sprayed in the face with suspected ammonia. Pic: Northumbria Police

A short while later, he died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

"Not only did their cowardly and vile actions lead to a young man tragically losing his life, but they also left a woman with life-changing injuries," Detective Inspector Tam Fowler said.

"The four offenders involved have continued to deny the charges put to them, without showing a hint of remorse for their victims throughout the investigation."

The four men found guilty are:

• Kenneth Fawcett, 33, of Balkwell Avenue, North Shields
• Josh Hawthorn, 22, of Ashfield, Jarrow
• John Wandless, 33, of no fixed abode
• Youssef Wynne, 39, of Wuppertal Court, Jarrow

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Northumbria Police said officers quickly connected incidents from the previous days to the attack on 20 August, which happened just after 11pm.

That crime spree saw Fawcett carry out planned "drug taxings", police said, at properties in Hebburn, Jarrow and South Shields with the help of Wandless.

Officers identified ringleader Wynne and his associate Hawthorn as orchestrating the assaults in a bid to intimidate rival drug dealers and steal their supply.

A car was left burnt out. Pic: Northumbria Police
Image: A car was left burnt out. Pic: Northumbria Police

A stolen grey VW Golf - linked to three of the incidents - was found burned out on 22 August in Wallsend, after Mr Foster's death was made public.

The four men were found guilty after a five-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday.

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The charges

Fawcett was found guilty of murder, robbery, inflicting grievous bodily harm and two counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, while Hawthorn was convicted of murder and robbery.

Wandless was found guilty of murder, robbery, inflicting grievous bodily harm and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, but admitted handling a stolen VW Golf and arson for destroying the car.

Wynne was found guilty of murder, robbery, assault causing actual bodily harm, inflicting grievous bodily harm and two counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

They will all be sentenced on 26 July at the same court.

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