Accused admits to murder at flat

The scene on Central Drive in Blackpool

The scene on Central Drive in Blackpool

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A KILLER is facing life imprisonment after he admitted brutally beating a man to death during a booze-fuelled row.

A KILLER is facing life imprisonment after he admitted brutally beating a man to death during a booze-fuelled row.

Richard Goss pleaded guilty to the horrific murder of John Whittam – seven days after the 48-year-old victim had moved to the resort for a better life.

Police say the pair had been drinking in the defendant’s first floor flat in the former Castleton Hotel on Central Drive, Blackpool, when an argument broke out.

Goss, 21, had previously denied murder at Preston Crown Court but changed his plea to guilty just before he was due to go on trial yesterday.

Mr Whittam’s sister, Julia Roberts, who had come from South Wales for the hearing, said the former butcher was originally from Rochdale but had moved into a flat in the Castleton Hotel days earlier.

She added: “John had only been in Blackpool for seven days.

“He wanted to start a fresh life and just wanted to be near my mum who lives in Blackpool.

“It’s a relief - we’re relieved we don’t have to go through a trial.

“I’m glad Goss was man enough to own up to it. My heart goes out to his family, everyone gets hurt here.”

Ambulance crews were called to Central Drive on Friday, July 9 last year where Mr Whittam was found already dead.

A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: “We got a call to an address on Central Drive.

“Initially, the call was that a male was intoxicated, but on arrival the crew found the person was deceased.”

Neighbours had reported hearing a disturbance on the Thursday night into the early hours of Friday morning.

Det Supt Neil Esseen, of Blackpool Police’s major investigation team, added: “They had been drinking, an argument started and a fight then broke out.”

Full details of the incident are expected to be revealed in court when Goss is sentenced later today.

The court was told the guilty plea was entered on the basis Goss had intended to injure rather than kill Mr Whittam.

David Fish QC, defending, said: “The plea was entered on the basis the intention was to commit grievous bodily harm.

“The attack occurred in the defendant’s room and there was no further attack elsewhere.

“It is accepted by the defendant that he caused all the injuries.”

Judge Anthony Russell QC warned Goss he faced a sentence of life imprisonment.

He told him: “Now you have pleaded guilty to this offence of murder, it has to be a sentence of life imprisonment.

“The most important thing is that I have to decide the appropriate minimum term and I will do that after any representations are made.”