Three youths who killed a complete stranger by attacking him and pushing him into a canal have been sentenced to nearly 50 years in prison.
Liam Bailey, Liam O’Brien and Harry Maher – between 16 and 19 years old – lured father of one child Scott Anderton to the remote location after meeting him in Leigh city center at 4 a.m. on March 25.
There the trio attacked the 33-year-old with such ferocity that his body had 35 individual injuries from head to shin.
CCTV footage showed he was still alive when he was thrown into the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, while post-mortem evidence suggested his attackers continued to hit him even as he tried to escape.
In a shocking display of numbness, two of the attackers – Bailey and O’Brien – returned to the scene later that morning to film the police chain. “Hot in Leigh Town,” you hear O’Brien say.
Bailey, 19, pleaded guilty to the murder, while Maher, 16, was found guilty of the same charges. O’Brien, 17, was convicted of manslaughter.
The latter two were named for the first time, despite their youth, on Friday after the reporting restrictions were lifted for the sheer horror of the murder.
Judge Alan Conrad QC told them that “the extent and ferocity of the violence used are almost contrary to belief.”
The trio had first seen Anderton – described by the court as “vulnerable” – when he was walking through the city in the Greater Manchester area with just one shoe.
After persuading him to go to the Canal, they expose him to the terrible brutality that would end his life.
CCTV released by the Greater Manchester Police Department showed the four walking there. It shows one of the teenagers with a gun bag.
Later CCTV footage showed ripples in the canal water – presumably the moment Anderton hit the water.
At the time of his death, his family described him as “the most caring, loving, and kindest person you could meet.”
They said, “He made time for everyone he met and was always there when someone needed help. Even on the darkest days, Scott was always positive and had the cheekiest smile that was contagious. Scott was our child. “
And they added, “You are really loved, Scott. We promise you that you will never be forgotten. “
After the conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson described the killing as an “extremely violent, callous and unprovoked attack”.
She said, “They showed absolutely no remorse for their heinous actions and ignored his cries for help before they saw him die in the canal.
Bailey, of Diamond Street, Leigh, received a life sentence and served a minimum of 23 years and four months in prison.
He was also found guilty of attempting to rob another man in the hours leading up to Anderton’s murder. And he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to seriously assaulting a 40-year-old man who sustained life-changing injuries in another attack on September 1 last year.
Maher, of Green Lane, Standish, was also sentenced to a minimum of 16 years’ life imprisonment before being considered parole.
O’Brien of Schofield Street, Leigh, was sentenced to 10 years of juvenile imprisonment.