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Three men cleared of axe murder attack in Croydon

Three men have been cleared of killing a man in front of his pregnant fiancée in south London.

Steven Dougherty, 36, of no fixed address; Sam Monteith, 33, of no fixed address; and Paul West, 31, from Slough, were found not guilty of murder at the Old Bailey.

Danny Gough was in bed when three men armed with a machete, an axe and knives broke into his girlfriend's home in Croydon on 14 October 2010.

Mr Gough was pronounced dead the scene.

At about 01:35 GMT on the day of the attack, Mr Gough was at the property in Stockbury Road after returning from a weekend in Brighton when the group burst in wearing balaclavas and gloves.

The trio squirted ammonia into the faces of his girlfriend Kareena Modashia and her mother before setting upon Mr Gough.

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A post-mortem examination found the victim died of shock and bleeding from multiple wounds, the court heard.

The prosecution had argued it was part of a string of tit-for-tat incidents in which Mr Gough allegedly slashed the face of one of the defendants.

The prosecution had also claimed the men knew about Mr Gough's movements after he posted he was heading home "to wifey" on Facebook.

The murder weapons were never recovered and the defendants denied they were at the scene of the murder.

Mr Gough's girlfriend, whose son is now three, gave evidence in the trial but was unable to identify any of her attackers.

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