THREE young men were yesterday cleared of stabbing an Oxford United Football and Education Academy member to death in an unprovoked street attack.

Godwin Lawson, 17, was killed when he tried to protect a childhood friend from a group of youths in Hackney, north east London.

His family had moved away from the area for fear of knife violence and he was only in London for a weekend visit from Oxford.

Killer Moise Avorgah, 21, who had a previous conviction for carrying a knife in public two years earlier, went out to a nightclub with his friends after fleeing the scene.

He was convicted of murder in February and jailed for life with a minimum term of 19 years.

His friends Daniel Riley, 22, Koffi Osimeh, 20, and Matthew Lanihun, 21, were accused of the murder of Godwin Lawson on the basis of joint enterprise.

The first jury was unable to reach verdicts, but all three have now been cleared of murder and the lesser alternative of manslaughter after a second trial.

They were also cleared of two charges of wounding with intent and the lesser alternative of unlawful wounding.

Following the verdicts it emerged Riley and Osimeh were both serving 42-month sentences for possession of cocaine with intent to supply. They were on bail for the offence at the time of Godwin’s death.

At London’s Old Bailey, Riley and Lanihun, from Holloway; and Osimeh, from Finsbury Park, were acquitted of murder and two counts of wounding with intent.