Beaten to death for no reason

THREE men have been told they face "a substantial prison sentence" after admitting killing a Lytham man in an unprovoked attack.

David Pickford was found dead in his home at Arundel Road, Lytham, a month after he was viciously beaten in an attack on Cookson Street, central Blackpool on January 11.

Sean Downes, 19, of Dingle Avenue, Grange Park, Anthony McDonald, 20, of Churchill Court, Layton and a 21-year-old local man who cannot be named for legal reasons admitted manslaughter at Preston Crown Court.

Remanding them in custody, judge Mr Justice Silber told the defendants: "This is a very serious charge for which you can expect a substantial prison sentence."

The court heard the defendants attacked the victim in an assault which was "unprovoked, unjustified and not in self defence" while he was walking along the street in Blackpool.

He was repeatedly punched and kicked around the head and body before one of the defendants stamped on his left leg.

This caused fractures to his tibular and fibular bones which was later treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

He later developed deep vein thrombosis in a vein in his left calf. The blockage led to blood flow to the lungs being disrupted which eventually caused him to collapse and die.

The three men were originally charged with murder but the prosecution decided the crime of manslaughter was a more fitting charge.

Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, said: "Throughout the process, I have spoken to the mother of the victim and kept her informed.

"The reasons have been explained and I've had the chance to speak to her and she has indicated that not only does she understand what has happened but she is happy with the decision."

The court heard how Mr Pickford's body had been discovered in his bedroom at his Lytham home by a family member on Febuary 15.

All had assumed he was in the process of making a full recovery from the brutal attack which had seen him spend eight days in hospital and undergo surgery.

Leading officer Det Chief Insp Neil Esseen of Blackpool Police said: "No sentence will ever be enough for Mr Pickford's family.

"I have spoken to them and they understand and are happy that justice has been done, this charge does not undermine the ferocity of the attack but is probably the one which best fits the charge.

"I am pleased that the three men have accepted responsibility for what they have done and this just goes to show what can happen even when injuries from attacks are not considered life threatening.

"This has not only ruined the lives of David Pickford and his family but those of the three men in the dock and their families too, over a moment of stupidity."

The three are due to appear at Preston Crown Court for sentencing on November 1.