A TEENAGE drug runner has been cleared of murdering a man in Skipton’s Aireville Park but found guilty of his manslaughter.

Brooklyn Bell, 19, of Parkwood Rise, Keighley, was this afternoon found not guilty of murdering Simon McMinn in a wooded area of the park on the evening on July 28 last year.

He was convicted of his manslaughter after the panel had deliberated for four hours.

Bell also faces sentence for a Section 18 GBH committed in Bournemouth in 2019 when he stabbed a man in the back.

Judge Jonathan Rose, who will sentence him on April 11 for both offences, said he faced a substantial custodial sentence. He was remanded back into custody until then.

During the trial at Bradford Crown Court, Bell maintained he was defending himself when he stabbed Mr McMinn to death.

He told the jury that Mr McMinn, 44, pointed a knife at him and tried to steal his drug dealing cash.

Bell said he was “scared and intimidated” after he shouted loudly at him and threatened him.

He told the court he took the train from Keighley with around £400 of heroin and crack cocaine to sell to addicts in Skipton.

He approached a group of younger males he thought were his own age and asked them if they wanted any ‘sniff.’ He didn’t have any cocaine powder on him but he told the court his drugs boss was ‘building a coke line’ in Skipton so he wanted to see if they were interested. They weren’t and he walked away.

He then got an order for the drugs he was carrying and met Mr McMinn and his friend at the top end of the park.

Bell said Mr McMinn, who the jury heard was 17 stone, produced a knife and pointed it at him while trying to pick up banknotes that had fallen from Bell’s bag.

Bell said he punched Mr McMinn in the face and he dropped up the knife.

When Mr McMinn punched him again, he stabbed him.

“I was protecting myself,” he said.

“The first time I stabbed him it had no effect on him so that’s why I stabbed him again.”

Mr McMinn was stabbed three times, once in the shoulder and twice in the back.

“I was defending myself. I was scared of this guy,” Bell stated. “I didn’t know him but I didn’t want to kill him; I didn’t mean to kill him.”

He said he ran away after gathering up as much of the dropped money as he could quickly find.

He went to Keighley and then by train Huddersfield, handing himself into the police there three days later.

Bell said he had family in Huddersfield and had been to school in the town.

He went to Huddersfield Police Station after being told that the police were looking for him in Keighley and Huddersfield.

The court has heard that he was on police bail at the time for stabbing a man in Bournemouth in August, 2019.

The 54-year-old man suffered a collapsed lung after Bell stabbed him three times in the back with a flick knife he had in his pocket.

He told the jury he was angry after the man offended him near The Prom Diner on the seafront.

Bell said he saw him again the same day after taking a zig-zag path to a bus shelter to do a drug deal.

He ran up behind him in an alleyway and stabbed him three times in what he agreed was a revenge attack.

Afterwards, Bell tapped lyrics into his phone that said: “Man got splashing. I left that crime scene happy.”

Cross-examined by John Elvidge QC, for the Crown, Bell said he wasn’t angry with Mr McMinn, he was defending himself.

“The Skipton situation was completely different from the Bournemouth situation,” he said.

Bell said he carried a knife in Bournemouth but not in Skipton.

He said of Mr McMinn: “He was the one that was angry and he was the one that had a knife.”

Mr McMinn received stab wounds to his back because he was swinging punches at him with his head down, Bell told the jury.