Two killers who locked their victim in a box to die after attacking him in a row over £20 are facing life behind bars.
Louis Whelan and Anthony Keating, both 23, subjected Blaine Hammond to a ‘savage’ beating, punching, kicking and stamping on the 22-year-old’s head and neck.
Mr Hammond suffered multiple severe head injuries and brain damage during the ordeal, in the front room of Whelan’s home in Saltburn Road, Sunderland.
Keating rode off on the moped he had arrived there two hours earlier with Mr Hammond.
Whelan went back inside, leaving the victim lying on the ground – before appealing to friends on Facebook to call for an ambulance.
Whelan wrote in one message: ‘He took my £20 and f** got it so I’ve smashed him all over, he’s on death’s door like. He’s still breathing, will you phone an ambulance’.
He sent another message saying: ‘He just tried to nick £20 off me so I just brayed him all over and he is f** dying like, need an ambulance.’
Prosecutor Peter Glenser KC told jurors at Newcastle Crown Court: ‘Two minutes later Whelan left his address and dragged Blaine Hammond across the road towards the green cabin where Whelan placed Blaine and where Blaine was to meet his premature death.
‘Within eight minutes Whelan was back home. He did not ensure an ambulance was called until 9.30 the following morning, by which time Blaine Hammond had been dead for some hours.’
Mr Glenser added: ‘Whelan showed an utterly callous disregard for his welfare.
‘He cared more about keeping a distance between himself and Blaine than he did about ensuring help came.’
Police received an anonymous tip on Friday, December 3 last year, before finding Mr Hammond’s body inside a padlocked green box close to allotments.
Whelan and Keating both denied murder but jurors found them guilty by a majority of 11-1.
After the verdict was delivered, judge Mr Justice Morris told the defendants: ‘You have been found guilty of murder and the sentence for murder is fixed by law and it’s a life sentence.
‘I will sentence you at a later date to be arranged. At that hearing I will set the minimum term you must serve before you can be considered for release on licence.’