HAYDEN Maslen has been cleared of all charges relating to the death of Jordan Taylor by a jury today.

Maslen, 19, of Park Street, Trowbridge, pleaded not guilty to the murder, manslaughter, wounding with intent and unlawful wounding of Mr Taylor, but guilty to possession of a bladed article.

Friends and family in the public gallery left the court in silence after the not guilty verdicts were announced.

The jury took around five hours to make up their minds, at the end of a 10-day trial, returning to court just after 4pm to deliver their verdict.

Jordan Taylor, 25, from Hilperton, died in the early hours of March 12 in Trowbridge town centre, after suffering stab wounds.

Maslen, 19, had told the jury at Bristol Crown Court yesterday: “I didn’t know him, why would I want to kill him?”

A fight between Maslen and Jordan Taylor had escalated when Neil Vaughan turned his car around and headed towards the two young men.

The court heard how Mr Taylor pulled the bag off Maslen’s shoulders, ripping the strap off, and then hit Maslen with the strap.

Then Maslen went into the open bag, unzipped the inside pocket which held the knife, took it out and released the blade.

After punching at Mr Taylor with the knife, who was still trying to grab and punch Maslen at this point, Maslen turned to run, but Mr Vaughan was now out of the car and standing in front of him, the court heard.

Maslen told the jury Mr Vaughan had his hands up as if to grab his shoulders or neck, when he also punched at Mr Vaughan with the knife, as he thought he was going to kill him.

When asked why he got the knife out of his bag, Maslen said: “I just wanted him to realise I was serious and that I wasn’t going to give him the bag. I didn’t want anything like this to happen.”

Character references by friends described Maslen as a kind, good natured young man, with many calling him a ‘gentle giant’.