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vulnerable victim Three teenagers sentenced to 50 years for savage killing of man pushed into canal

Scott Anderton was found in the Leeds and Liverpool canal in Leigh on the morning of March 25.

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Scott Anderton (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

Scott Anderton (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

Scott Anderton (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

Three teenagers have been sentenced for killing a “vulnerable” man who was attacked and pushed into a canal.

The body of Scott Anderton, 33, from Leigh, Greater Manchester, was found floating in the Leeds and Liverpool canal in his home town on the morning of March 25.

Liam Bailey, 18, had pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Anderton, while Harry Maher, 16, was found guilty by a jury of the same charge and Liam O’Brien, 17, was convicted of manslaughter.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Anderton suffered 35 separate sharp force injuries, including chop and stab wounds, that covered his body from the top of his head to his shins.

The cause of his death was multiple sharp force injuries with blunt force trauma to the head and terminal drowning.

Manchester Crown Court heard Mr Anderton had the “tragic misfortune” to run into the defendants shortly after he was seen on CCTV walking through Leigh town centre at about 4am, with a plastic carrier bag, wearing a bobble hat and only one shoe.

CCTV footage 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.

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.

This was an extremely violent, callous and unprovoked attack that cost a man his lifeDetective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson

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.

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

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.

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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