A martial arts fan who murdered a vulnerable amputee in his wheelchair was fuelled by his ‘hatred’ for homeless people, a court heard as he was jailed today.
Daniel Sharples was jailed for life for his brutal attack on defenceless Michael Mairs who he battered with powerful kicks to his face.
The 38-year-old continued to beat the 53-year-old as he lay unconscious on the ground, even tipping him out of his wheelchair onto the floor.
Sharples, who at one point this morning smirked in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court during sentencing, was ordered to serve at least 21 years before he can be considered for parole.
And a judge condemned him for seemingly targeting Mr Mairs, who was minding his own business on October 6, last year, due to his personal circumstances.
Judge Thomas Teague also rubbished Sharples initial claims to police that the victim had sold Spice or heroin to his 15-year-old son, describing the allegation as a “falsehood.”
Bizarre claims that his child had been left in a coma because of the
drug-taking were also revealed as entirely false.
Judge Teague told Sharples: “There was not a word of truth in what you said about your victim.
“It was just a threadbare cloak for your prejudice against those unfortunate people, of whom Mr Mairs was one, who liked to congregate under the bridge outside Warrington Central railway station and who are often either homeless or dependent on alcohol or other substances or both.
“That was something you revealed after your arrest, when you said to the custody sergeant, ‘Why don’t you do your job and go and clear all these smackheads off the estate [and] the f ** town centre.”
Sharples decided to approach Mr Mairs at lunchtime, as he was sitting with friends under the bridge, drinking, “doing nobody any harm,” the judge said.
Sharples had spent the morning drinking lager and aniseed liqueur, together with pancakes for breakfast, when he picked a quarrel with Mr Mairs, and fabricated a story about the victim supplying his teenage son with Class A drugs.
He started by assaulting two other men, Shaun Taylor and Wilfred Hewitt, throwing Mr Taylor against a metal fence and then kicking him in the torso.
Mr Hewitt was kicked in the face twice before Sharples confronted Mr Mairs and punched in the facebefore delivering two powerful martial-arts-like kicks, again to his head and face, as he sat in his wheelchair.
He was tipped out of the chair, which was flung out of his reach, and then repeatedly kicked and stamped on his head while he was unconscious.
Sharples has little previous convictions, prosecutor Richard Pratt said, with only one past jail sentence for breaching a community punishment for criminal damage and public disorder, for which he was locked up for 12 weeks.
Mr Mairs, a much-loved dad and granddad, suffered from poor health including chronic alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver and deep vein thrombosis, which led to the partial amputation of his left leg.
Stephen Wood, defending Sharples, asked for it be reflected that his client had meant to cause really serious harm, and not murder, but Judge Teague said it mattered very little in terms of his sentence.
Sharples tried to explain to police he was “p * up” and “Valiumed up” to excuse his violent actions, but Judge Teague reminded he had displayed the presence of mind to remove his outer clothing as he tried to get away, and slipped into a pub garden in his attempt to scale a back fence.
Mr Mairs died three weeks after the attack, on October 28.
Judge Teague added: “He was 53 when you kicked him to death.
“He was a particularly vulnerable man.
“Following the amputation of his right leg, he ad to use a wheelchair
to get about.
“His general health was poor, and he suffered from alcohol dependency.
“At the time of is death he was living at a hostel in the centre of Warrington.
“It is important to place on the record that the things you said to the police and others about Mr Mairs – in particular that he was a user and supplier of illicit drugs – were completely false.
“Those claims have caused immense distress to is family.
“Whatever the personal difficulties he faced, he was a greatly loved father and grandfather.
“As his daughter eloquently puts it…your actions ave ruined the lives of many people, including hers, and have taken away a good man who did not deserve the horrific violence tat you inflected on him.”
He said: “Although you did not use a weapon in a strict sense, you are a skilled practitioner of martial arts and deployed your skills to devastating effect, using your shod feet against the head and face of your victim.”
Sharples, of Orford, Warrington, had denied murder, but admitted manslaughter, but was convicted of the higher offence by a jury after a trial.