Three Middlesbrough men guilty of killing of Lee Petite


Two Middlesbrough men, who helped a friend hunt down and fatally shoot a man in the back, have been convicted for their involvement in his death at Teesside Crown Court today.

Luke Lovell (22) of Whale Hill, Eston was found guilty of murder and Gordon Blue Smith (23) of Laburnum Road, Teesville of manslaughter, in connection with the killing of Lee Petite (22) in March of this year. Christopher Stubbs (21) of Tyne Street, South Bank had pleaded guilty to murder at an earlier hearing.

The court had heard how the trio had spent a day hunting Lee Petite near his home in the Bankfields area of Middlesbrough, after a disagreement between Lee and Christopher Stubbs. Mr Stubbs shot Lee in the foot during one altercation, before shooting him in the back as he ran from the group later that same day. The three men will be sentenced at a later date.

Jacqueline Edwards, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East, said: "This was a cowardly, planned attack in which the three men convicted today hunted their lone target over several hours, before shooting him in the back as he ran from them in fear.

"Christopher Stubbs had previously admitted his guilt in relation to the Lees murder. His two close friends Luke Lovell and Gordon Smith, who were by his side throughout his pursuit of Lee Petite, claimed to have been wholly unaware that Mr Stubbs was armed or that he intended anything more than a mere fist fight with their victim.

"Over the course of this trial the prosecution, aided by an excellent police investigation, have methodically picked apart the inconsistencies in their accounts and exposed the true level of their complicity in Lee's death.

"I would hope that the conviction of all three defendants provides a measure of comfort to those who knew and loved Lee Petite. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."