Man sent to jail for 'brutally' murdering his terminally-ill father in Darwen (From This Is Lancashire)
Man sent to jail for 'brutally' murdering his terminally-ill father in Darwen
A MAN has been jailed for at least 18 years for battering his terminally-ill father to death following a family reunion.
Anthony Hughes moved in with his dad Brian in Darwen just a week before the ‘savage attack’ in which his father’s skull was shattered.
The 32-year-old had been looking for a new start after losing his job and being made homeless, Preston Crown Court heard.
He had also just made contact with his half sister Rebecca Gosling, who witnessed the vicious sustained assault and had only ever met her father once before by chance.
The court was told Hughes had for many years had a feud with his father, because there had been domestic violence between his parents.
But he and Rebecca decided to talk to their father so they could have a fresh chance at building their relationship.
On the night of his death Hughes and his father met up at the ICI Sports and Social Club, in Bridge Street, Darwen together with Rebecca.
Hughes and his father began arguing, and the row continued at the victim’s house in The Lea where he was attacked.
Father-of-four Mr Hughes, who had bowel cancer that had spread to his liver and lungs, was repeatedly kicked and stamped on before being dragged into the street, where the ‘brutal’ attack continued.
The 60-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Hughes’s daughter Anne Marie McNamara, said the family had been living a ‘terrible nightmare’ since her father’s death.
After the hearing, she said: “Words cannot describe how we are feeling or how we have managed to function on a daily basis over the past six months.
“Learning the events of that night has shocked and sickened me to the core.
“Dad only had months to live and his own son, through anger, ripped that away from him in an extremely violent attack.
“Like any human being, dad deserved to die with dignity, not in an unidentifiable state that my sister and I will have visions of for the rest of our lives.
“The thought of what dad must have experienced and suffered is too much to bear.”
The court heard the defendant attacked after becoming angry when a bank statement revealed Mr Hughes had £5,000 in a bank account, which he had not told his son about.
He had also become frustrated with his father in the week before the murder, sending his mother a text saying he wanted to kill Mr Hughes, the court heard.
Prosecuting, Kate Blackwell said: “The blood patterns in the living room suggested a continued attack and at no time did the deceased make any attempt to defend himself.
“Hughes punched and kicked him to the head repeatedly and stamped on the left side of his head.
“He then walked away, but returned a short while later.
“He eventually stopped and left the scene.
“There was a large amount of blood coming from his (Mr Hughes’s) head.”
After the attack, Miss Blackwell said Hughes, who had been given a suspended prison sentence for an attack on a girlfriend 10 days before the murder, called his mother and said: “I have killed him. He was going to get Becky and I got in between them.
“I stamped on his head. He will never hurt anybody again, not you, not any of the other women he hurt.”
He then made a 999 call admitting what he had done.
Sentencing Hughes to a life sentence with a minimum 18 years and eight months in prison, Judge Anthony Russell said: “For many years, you had hated your father from whom you were estranged.
“Your father’s relationship with your mother was the cause of your ill will.
“He had terminal cancer and had about 18 to 24 months left of his life.
“The evidence of the text you sent before the crime reveals your frustration. Your anger appears to have boiled up.
“It appears insults were exchanged when you got home and your anger turned from insults to violence.
“Your motive was one of hatred directed against your father.
“He was particularly vulnerable by reason of his age and poor health. I am satisfied that you intended to kill your father.”
Det Insp Andy Hulme, of Lancashire Constabulary’s force major investigation team, said: “This was a cowardly and sustained attack on an innocent man.
“Anthony Hughes has shown absolutely no regard for his father and now faces a considerable custodial sentence to consider what he has done.’’ Mrs McNamara said she wanted to thank the police officers who had supported the family.
She said: “They have been our rock and kept us sane.
“We would also like to add a big thank you to all our family and friends that have supported us and are still supporting us through this terrible time.”