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Trio accused of hacking Danny Gough to death walk free from court after being cleared of murder


THREE men accused of hacking a father-to-be to death in front of his pregnant fiancée have been cleared of murder.

Danny Gough, 24, was cut down with an axe and a machete by masked intruders at his home in Woodside, Croydon, in December 2010.

Prosecutors claimed the killing was a carefully-planned revenge attack by Sam Monteith, 32, Stephen Dougherty, 35, and Paul West, 29.

But they denied any involvement and jurors acquitted all three of the charge after deliberating for more than a week.

One of the suspects tore off his electronic tag and threw it at police as he left court.

During the trial, Mr Gough's fiancée Kareena Modashia described how the killers shouted 'police' as they stormed her home in Stockbury Road, Woodside.

Miss Modashia, who gave birth to a son in June 2011, said: "I heard a bang, someone coming through the door, it was really loud and woke me up.

"Someone shouted - police, police - there were footsteps on the stairs and next thing I knew they was in the room.

"They entered the room, three guys, and Danny got up and then they attacked him.

"They ran straight over to Danny, I went to get up and one of the guys squirted something in my face.

"My eyes started to instantly burn, I grabbed the pillow to try and wipe it off and by that time all three of them were on Danny.

"There was no sounds they were just attacking him, I thought they were fighting - kicking and punching.

"They ran out the room and then I heard my mum come down the stairs, I went to get off the bed and the whole floor was wet.

"My mum ran in and she had been sprayed as well, she was crying and was in a right state.

"Danny was on the floor he was just laying there. The floor was wet, it was blood."

The prosecution claimed he was killed as the result of a long-running feud between Monteith and Mr Gough and his friends.

On November 3 Monteith was cut and sprayed with ammonia home by three men, including Mr Gough.

Monteith was left with a 10cm gash to his face and burns from the corrosive fluid, thrown in his eyes.

Ten days before the murder Monteith, Dougherty and West were captured on CCTV meeting together, it was claimed.

The following day the movement of their phones was "consistent with surveillance" of the victim, said prosecutor Mark Heywood.

Detectives also discovered that Monteith had accessed Mr Gough's Facebook page just hours before the murder.

Mr Gough had posted an update following a trip to Brighton to say: "Had a great weekend, coming home."

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said the revenge attack was meant to make a statement.

Dougherty told the court that the feud began when the sister of Mr Gough's friend Leanne Meredith mocked Monteith's 'wacky' trousers in a pub in June 2010, the court heard.

Dougherty, a self-confessed drug dealer and convicted robber who also worked as a car salesman and jewellery, said he first met Mr Gough in Wandsworth Prison in 2009.

West said the allegation was 'ridiculous' and that he had never met Mr Gough and had nothing to do with the slaying.

Mr Gough, also known as Daniel McGinty, was jailed for 18 months in January 2009 for supplying ecstasy to 18-year-old Cara Deary at a party in Elmwood Road. She later collapsed and died. 

Monteith, of Brighton Road, Sutton, West, of Eaton Avenue, Slough, Berks, and Dougherty, of no fixed address but formerly of Mijas, Spain, were all cleared of murder.

West and Dougherty first stood trial in November 2013 but the jury failed to reach a verdict.

At that time Monteith was unfit to stand trial but he recovered in time for the start of the retrial in November last year.

Trio accused of hacking Danny Gough to death walk free from court after being cleared of murder

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