Gavin Moon murder: Washington dad helped care for 'bestie' who became his killer

A dad who was brutally knifed to death over a drugs row had helped care for the disabled man who became one of his murderers.

By Fiona Thompson
Tuesday, 23 July, 2019, 08:37

Gavin Moon had been a friend of Luc Barker since they were young and stuck close to him after he suffered a brain injury.

When Gavin needed somewhere to stay, he moved in with his pal in Trafalgar Road in Sulgrave, the area dad-of-two was from.

A cordon was thrown around the flat after Gavin Moon's body was found.

The 31-year-old, who comes from a hardworking family, rallied round Barker, doing up the flat, making sure he was eating and keeping him financially afloat at times.

But Gavin was struggling to make ends meet and turned to selling drugs, although he had started to look into getting help.

It was his involvement in illicit substances which led to his horrific death inside that flat at the hands of Barker, 29, and another friend, Brian Goldsmith, 47, of Wayman Street in Monkwearmouth.

Luc Barker and Brian Goldsmith

Detective Chief Inspector John Bent said: “Gavin was very much loved by his family.

“He had fallen on hard times and he had realised himself that he needed to change.

“Gavin decorated his flat for him and Barker is disabled and uses a walking frame after a brain injury.

“He had limited movement and had some cognitive issues and long term memory.

Detective Chief Inspector John Bent.

“It was particularly hard to hear in court that he had looked after Barker, he bought him pizza, looked after him financially and had helped decorate that flat.

“Barker in the trial that Gavin was his best friend and they had known each other since they were young and I think that was particularly callous, given Gavin was killed by Barker and Goldsmith and then left for 24 hours before it was reported to the police he was dead.

“They didn’t call for any assistance for him and that was difficult for his family, to hear him called a ‘bestie’, someone they loved, who was killed and then left.”

Life sentences

Search teams pictured in Trafalgar Road, Washington, during the investigations.

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Luc Barker, 29, and Brian Goldsmith, 47, have been jailed for life for the killing of 31-year-old Gavin Moon in an attack in January.

Both men denied murder but were convicted by a jury last week after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

The fatal attack happened at Barker’s home in Washington, where Mr Moon had been staying.

Barker, of Trafalgar Road, Washington, must serve a minimum of 16 years before he can apply for parole.

Goldsmith, of Wayman Street, Sunderland, must serve a minimum of 18 years.

Callous murder

After the sentencing Detective Chief Inspector John Bent, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was a callous murder and the sentences reflect the gravity of the offence.

“Barker and Goldsmith insisted their innocence throughout and that was the final insult to Mr Moon’s family, who had to go through the heartache and pain of losing their loved one all over again during the trial.

“With an investigation like this, it’s always difficult for the family of the deceased – but it has been even harder for Mr Moon’s family given one of the defendants, Barker, had been a friend of the victim for some time.

“Throughout the trial whilst insisting his innocence, Barker portrayed himself as a ‘best friend’ of Mr Moon when clearly his actions had been so heartless, leaving the victim inside the flat and not summoning assistance for 24 hours.

“I hope today’s sentencing can give Mr Moon’s family some kind of justice."

The killers tried to claim they acted in self defence, both claimed Mr Moon had reacted angrily after returning home and discovering they had stolen a quantity of drugs that belonged to him.

Goldsmith claimed his actions were in self-defence, while Barker denied seeing a knife.

'Gavin's murder has left a hole in our family'

In a statement released after the pair's conviction, Mr Moon’s family said: “Gavin’s murder has left a hole in our family that cannot be filled.

“The trial of Barker and Goldsmith has been a painful process for our family to go through as we endured details of how Gavin came to die.

“As a family we thank the jury for their verdicts in this case. No sentence can reflect the pain we feel as a family however knowing that justice has been served brings some comfort."