A garage owner has today been convicted of brutally assaulting man before leaving him to die naked and alone in a shallow grave on the Northumberland coast.
Richard Spottiswood, 34, has today (Monday, July 2) been found guilty of murdering Darren Bonner following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
On the morning of July 10, 2017, police were called to Shore Road in Creswell after receiving a report of a suspicious noise coming from behind a dry stone wall.
When officers arrived at the scene they discovered 24-year-old Darren Bonner lying in what appeared to be a shallow grave suffering from life-threatening injuries.
An investigation was immediately launched to locate the person responsible for causing the victim’s injuries.
Spottiswood, 34, of Canterbury Way, Jarrow, was located and arrested two days later on suspicion of attempted murder after his vehicle was caught on CCTV at the scene.
He had been on holiday at the caravan park with Darren but when questioned by officers, he denied having any knowledge of the incident.
Darren died in hospital after suffering irreversible brain damage – 16 days after he was discovered – and Spottiswood was charged with his murder.
He admitted in court that he had choked Darren by accident after putting him in a headlock during a fight but denied a charge of murder.
But today he was convicted of murder by a jury and is now facing a significant amount of time behind bars.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fairlamb, from Northumbria Police, said he is pleased that a dangerous man has now been convicted.
He said: "This has been a tragic time for Darren Bonner’s family and my thoughts go out to them. I absolutely have to commend their bravery throughout this ordeal.
“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.
“Darren was only 24 years old when his life was cruelly cut short and he will be greatly missed by his family and friends.”
Spottiswood was remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.