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'I didn't stab teenager' man tells crown court

PUBLISHED: 12:36 23 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:53 23 August 2010

A 28-YEAR OLD man who confronted a group of youths who had earlier abused him in the street has been found not guilty of stabbing a teenage girl. Matthew Godden, of Preston Road, Northfleet was cleared by the jury of wounding with intent to cause grievou

A 28-YEAR OLD man who confronted a group of youths who had earlier abused him in the street has been found not guilty of stabbing a teenage girl.

Matthew Godden, of Preston Road, Northfleet was cleared by the jury of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to the stabbing of the 16-year-old when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court last Wednesday.

The court heard Matthew and his brother Michael, 24, also of Preston Road, were abused by three boys and two girls on their way home in October last year, who were drinking on Park Avenue. They went back to the group later, and after an argument, the 16-year-old girl was stabbed in the neck.

Defending Matthew Godden, Richard Travers said: "There is no evidence of Matthew wielding a knife.

"He didn't really do himself any favours by going home and going back to confront the group.

"However naïve and however foolhardy it may have been to have gone back that evening whatever we may think that in itself doesn't prove Matthew Godden stabbed this young woman."

Both brothers admitted being involved in the argument but Matthew denied having a knife, and told the he was "absolutely not" responsible for the knifing. He was also cleared of an offence of assault by beating on a teenage boy during the same incident, but was convicted of assault causing actual bodily harm to a 17-year-old girl.

His brother Michael was found not guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm to the 17-year-old girl and not guilty of assault on another of the teenage boys.

During the week and half long trial, the court heard that no one saw who stabbed the girl and no weapon has been found despite extensive searches by the police.

Adjourning sentence of Matthew Godden until August 18 for reports, Judge Jeremy Carey warned him that the conviction for assault passed the custody threshold.

He said: "It was a premeditated act in that you went back to the scene."

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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