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Man cleared at boy murder retrial

31 October 08 18:55 GMT

A man has been cleared of murdering a teenager who was shot dead in Sheffield a year ago.

Jonathan Matondo, 16, died after being shot in the head in Nottingham Cliff Park, Pitsmoor, in October 2007.

Negus Nelson, 19, was found not guilty after a retrial at Sheffield Crown Court. At his first trial a jury failed to reach a verdict.

Outside court Jonathan's family said they were "devastated" by the verdict and hoped his killers would be caught.

Family spokesman Mike Leko said: "We wanted justice for Jonathan's death and the punishment of those responsible for it.

"Jonathan's life was cut short by one selfish act and with it our lives have been cut short and our hearts have been broken.

"Nothing could ever replace our boy and we miss him every day."

Mr Leko said the family hoped that "those involved with guns realise how dangerous they are and what the consequences can be".

He said: "We hope that those who hold evidence concerning the circumstances of Jonathan's death will come forward with the truth so his killers are caught and convicted."

Mr Leko thanked everyone who had been "brave enough" to give evidence in court and said the family "appreciate everything that the police have done to find those responsible for Jonathan's murder".

Chief Crown Prosecutor Nigel Cowgill said: "Following the death of Jonathan Matondo, we worked closely with the police to ensure all of the evidence was gathered, analysed and put before the jury for their consideration.

"It may never be known who pulled the trigger but we will continue to support the police with their enquiries.

"These cases are complex, distressing and involve a level of violence which is often beyond the comprehension of law-abiding residents, yet it is members of the public in the jury who must consider the evidence.

"This is no easy task and so I would like to thank every member of the jury, and every witness for their part in the retrial of Negus Nelson."

Jonathan's mother Therese Mfuilu brought her son to England from the Democratic Republic of Congo when he was two years old. They lived in the Burngreave area of Sheffield.

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