Warren Free murder trial: Teenagers cleared of killing

Warren Free Image copyright Police issue
Image caption Father-of-two Warren Free, 42, had lived in Spalding for eight years

Six teenagers accused of subjecting a father-of-two to a "vicious assault" with a metal pole have been cleared of his murder.

Warren Free, 42, died from head injuries in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in August 2014.

A Lincoln Crown Court jury found Jake Edwards, 18, two 15-year-old boys, a boy aged 17 and two 15-year-old girls not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

A 15-year-old boy was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Another boy, aged 17, admitted the same charge before the four-week trial.

Jurors reached the verdicts after a week of deliberations.

'Innocent bystanders'

It was alleged Mr Free was subjected to a "vicious assault" involving a metal pole after confronting the group of youths in a nearby park over damage to his property.

He returned home after the attack, but died later from his injuries.

Defence lawyers argued the teens had acted either in self-defence, or were defending others in the group, while some were innocent bystanders.

They also told jurors pathologists who examined Mr Free's body were unable to determine exactly how and when he sustained the fatal blow to his head.

It could have been caused by a punch or kick, or from falling to the ground and hitting his head, they argued.

A post-mortem examination found he had multiple cuts and bruises and had suffered a brain injury.

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