A schoolboy is dead and three teenagers are now facing the prospect of life imprisonment, after what could be yet another tragic case of gang rivalry.

An Old Bailey jury yesterday (March 10) found two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old guilty of the murder of Nicholas Pearton.

Another 16-year-old was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter, while a 14-year-old boy and another 16-year-old boy were acquitted.

Nicholas was stabbed to death on May 5 last year after being chased through Home Park Recreation Ground in Sydenham.

News Shopper: Park Recreation Ground in Sydenham

Jurors were told the killing may have been sparked by a rivalry between two gangs, Shanks and Guns, or SG, and the Black Mafia, also known as the Sydenham Boys.

The court heard Nicholas had been with his friends when he received a phone call and then left to go to the park saying “I have to help them” and “SG are there”.

But when he got to the park, his friends, who were members of the Black Mafia, had disappeared and he was left on his own.

Edward Brown, prosecuting, said: “What happened thereafter, as described by one witness who saw the defendants as they ran Nicholas Pearton to the ground and killed him, was a group of men acting 'like animals'.

"An accurate description in the circumstances.”

The court heard that after being stabbed, Nicholas staggered into the MM chicken shop and shut the door behind him.

News Shopper: MM chicken shop where Nicholas fled to

Mr Brown said: “One of the group of defendants was seen to hold a knife high above his head, as if bragging at what had just happened, shouting at the time 'SG, SG'.

"He was not alone, the whole group were described as shouting and also laughing and joking."

The convicted youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were remanded in custody for sentencing next month.

Gangs in the news

September last year Members of the Shanks and Guns (SG) uploaded a video on YouTube issuing a challenge to the rival Black Mafia gang, bragging about being on their turf.

The footage showed the youths, some wearing scarves to mask their faces, rap about their violent lifestyle and brandish a knife. One member, who calls himself Major, makes sickening boasts about carrying a knife, a gun and stabbing people in the face.

June last year Eight members of the Black Mafia were found guilty of GBH with intent after slashing a 26-year-old man’s neck at a birthday party.

After the incident they made a video bragging about the attack and put it on YouTube. Eight youths, aged 16 to 18, were jailed for the incident.

The Shankers and Gunners gang has often been linked to the Deptford and New Cross-based Shower Gang

February last year An 18-year-old Shower Gang member Rosca Onya, of Pendragon Road, Grove Park, who had made boasts on YouTube about shooting rivals, was locked up after he was found with a loaded gun.

Onya was given an indeterminate sentence and told he must serve a minimum of four years.

News Shopper: A still from a Shower Gang YouTube video

December 2009 Shower Gang members Dwight Callender, aged 23, of Mercator Road, Lewisham, and Derrell Callender, aged 20, of Leybridge Court, Eltham, were locked up for 35 years each for the attempted murder of Johnson Ndjoli and his friend Mohammed Turay.

Mr Ndjoli, aged 19, died following the trial after being run over, shot and stabbed in a gang attack.