Cruel teens lured vulnerable man to canal, stabbed him and watched him drown

Three twisted teens lured a vulnerable man to a canal before stabbing him and pushing him into the water before they watched him drown, a court has heard.

Scott Anderton, 33, from Leigh, Greater Manchester, was found floating lifelessly in the Leeds and Liverpool canal on March 25 following a brutal attack.

Liam Bailey, 18, Harry Maher, 16, and Liam O'Brien, 17, were sentenced for the death of Mr Anderton after subjecting him to the vile assault and "ignoring his cries for help."

The sick teens were sentenced after a post-mortem examination revealed their victim had suffered from 35 separate sharp force wounds – including stab and chop injuries, which were found from his head to his shins.

Manchester Crown Court heard how his cause of death was from several sharp force injuries with blunt force trauma to the head and terminal drowning.

It was reported that Mr Anderton had the "tragic misfortune" to run into the defendants shortly after he was seen on CCTV walking through Leigh town centre at around 4am.

Bailey had pleaded guilty to murder, while Maher was found guilty by a jury of the same charge and O'Brien was convicted of manslaughter.

Mr Anderton was seen as vulnerable and could be seen in footage strolling with a plastic carrier bag, wearing a bobble hat and walking with only one shoe.

CCTV showed the murder victim and the defendants at the entrance to the canal on King Street, and at 4.30am ripples on the surface of the water indicated when Mr Anderton entered the canal after the attack.

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Mr Anderton attempted to grab hold of the bank to pull himself back up, but soon lost consciousness and slipped into the canal as he succumbed to his injuries.

Following searches of their phones it was found that Bailey and O'Brien had returned to the scene later that morning and filmed the police cordon.

Bailey was also found guilty of attempting to rob a young man in the hours before Mr Anderton's murder.

He had also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to inflicting grievous bodily harm on a 40-year-man who suffered life-changing injuries in a late night attack near Leigh town centre on September 1 last year.

Prosecutor Michael Brady QC said the victim, like Mr Anderton, was targeted because he was "vulnerable and alone".

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O'Brien was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm in relation to the September 1 incident.

On Friday, Bailey, of Diamond Street, Leigh, received a life term and must serve a minimum of 23 years and four months in custody.

Maher, of Green Lane, Standish, was also given a life term with a minimum 16 years before he can be considered for parole.

O'Brien, of Schofield Street, Leigh, was sentenced to 10 years youth custody.

Judge Alan Conrad QC lifted reporting restrictions on the juveniles.

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Following sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson said: "This was an extremely violent, callous and unprovoked attack that cost a man his life.

"They showed absolutely no remorse for their heinous actions, ignoring his cries for help, before watching him die in the canal.

"In a final act of evil they then returned to the scene of the crime to take videos.

"Thankfully due to the extensive CCTV inquiries we were able to quickly pinpoint their movements that evening and morning and established that all three of them had been with the victim and were involved in his death."

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