A killer who claimed he accidentally strangled a 15-year-old girl to death while trying to protect her from possible harm was cleared of murder by a jury yesterday. But Pang Cho-yin, 24, who had taken Ecstasy and cannabis on the night of the girl's death, was convicted of manslaughter and told he could face jail. The prosecution had alleged the victim, Choi Sze-wan, was murdered in the back of a Yau Ma Tei pawn shop to stop her accusing three men of raping her. But Pang denied this and said he had been worried about the 'bizarre' behaviour of the girl who had taken a cocktail of Ecstasy and 'ice'. He tried to stop her leaving and killed her by accident in the struggle which followed. He told the jury he thought she might have come to some harm if allowed to leave in that condition. Tsui Yuk-ming, 23, who was accused of prompting the attack by telling Pang to 'go to the extreme', was also cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter. Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson remanded both men in custody for reports on their background and told them she was considering a prison sentence. Both had denied murder, but Pang had admitted manslaughter. The victim, nicknamed Ding Dong, should have been celebrating Lunar New Year with relatives on the mainland when she met her death on February 6 last year. Her father, Choi Shui-ming, 46, a decorator, said he had been unable to contact her before the trip and decided she did not want to go with him. Police later tracked him down in Guangzhou to tell him of his daughter's death. The girl and her mother came to Hong Kong in 1991 to join her father. But within days her mother left because she was unhappy in the territory, Mr Choi told police. She took the girl with her. The girl later returned to the sole care of her father, but he worked until 7 pm each day and was unable to spend much time with her. The teenager dropped out of school in 1996 and gradually drifted into the world of clubs and drugs. She spent time in a home after being suspected of prostitution. On the night of her death, she had been with the two defendants at a disco. The Court of First Instance jury was told she appeared to have a crush on their friend Wong Chi-yin and one witness described her as clinging to him 'like a little girl'. He is still at large. She joined the three men at the pawn shop after leaving the disco. Pang said he had strangled her while the other two pinned her down. Her body was found in a lane outside the shop.