Richard Spottiswood guilty of Cresswell 'shallow grave' murder

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Richard SpottiswoodImage source, Northumbria Police
Image caption,
Richard Spottiswood was described by police as "cold and despicable"

A man has been convicted of the murder of a man found dying in a shallow grave in Northumberland.

Darren Bonner, 24, was discovered naked and semi-conscious in undergrowth near Cresswell and died two weeks later as a result of lack of oxygen to his brain.

Richard Spottiswood, who is 34 and from Jarrow, denied murder but was found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a later date.

The court was told Mr Bonner worked in a garage owned by his killer and the pair also grew and sold cannabis.

However, while staying at a caravan site in Cresswell in July 2017, a row broke out when Spottiswood accused his employee of spying for a rival drug gang.

Image source, Darren Bonner
Image caption,
Garage worker Darren Bonner died as a result of lack of oxygen to his brain

Mr Bonner, who died in hospital 17 days after he was discovered by a dog walker, had a "broad ligature mark on his neck, and a number of bruises and abrasions, including marks from a "rod-shaped weapon".

Spottiswood admitted putting him in a headlock during a row to "calm him down", but said he did not intend to kill him.

Speaking after the trial, Det Ch Insp Andy Fairlamb from Northumbria Police, said: "Even after Spottiswood admitted to choking Darren, he has continued to go on and defend his actions claiming it was an accident.

"The fact that Darren was left in such a critical condition - barely breathing and lying in a shallow grave - absolutely shows how truly cold and despicable Spottiswood is."

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