Woman cleared of murdering man found naked in Northumberland

The site where Darren Bonner was found naked in a shallow grave.

A woman has been cleared of murdering a man found naked in a shallow grave in Northumberland.

Lucy Burn and her partner Richard Spottiswood both denied murdering Darren Bonner during a holiday in Cresswell.

Yesterday, Judge Stephen Ashurst directed the jury at the trial at Newcastle Crown Court to find Burn not guilty.

He ruled there was insufficient evidence to say she participated in unlawful violence against Mr Bonner.

Burn, 29, of Burns Close, South Shields, had previously pleaded guilty to assisting an offender and will be sentenced later.

The case against Spottiswood, 34, of Canterbury Way, Jarrow, continues.

The trial began on Monday, January 8, when the court heard that Mr Bonner, 24, from Sunderland, was found semi-conscious by a man walking north up the shore road from Lynemouth to Cresswell on July 10 last year.

He died 16 days later, having suffered brain damage.

The court heard that when he was found he had a red mark on his neck and had also suffered at least 12 blows from a rod-shaped weapon to his back.

The jury has been told that Mr Bonner had worked for Spottiswood at his garage and helped him tend to cannabis farms.

Spottiswood, who is giving evidence in his defence today, has denied claims that they had fallen out.

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