Watch: Kickboxer murdered vulnerable wheelchair-user
A “remorseless” murderer who punched and kicked a helpless wheelchair-user to death has been jailed for life.
Kickboxer Daniel Sharples, 38, of Orford, Warrington, launched the unprovoked attack on 53-year-old Michael Mairs after spending the day drinking.
A member of the public intervened but before fleeing the scene Sharples grabbed the vulnerable father-of-two’s wheelchair and threw it to the side.
Mairs died in hospital days later, having suffered injuries to his face and multiple organ failure.
Sharples was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 21 years after an eight-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday – nearly a year to the day that his victim died.
He had breakfast with a pint at the Looking Glass pub in Warrington town centre on the morning of Sunday, 6 October, 2019, before moving on to the Hop Pole for more alcohol, including Sambuca shots.
He left the pub at about midday and came across Mairs, who was drinking with friends under a railway bridge.
Sharples, an experienced kickboxer who is trained in martial arts, verbally abused the group and attacked Mairs’ two friends, who fled after being hit in the face.
When they left he started punching Mairs, who was unable to get away, in the face before tipping him in his wheelchair and kicking him in the head as he lay on the floor.
When an onlooker intervened and tried to pull Sharples off his victim, the killer grabbed Mairs’ wheelchair and threw it to the side, escaping on foot.
Police arrested Sharples shortly after the fatal attack, despite his attempt at evading them.
At first he made an unsubstantiated claim that Mairs had sold drugs to his son. He later claimed he had taken valium and was out of control during the incident, with no memory of what happened.
Paramedics treated Mairs at the scene and he was taken to Warrington District Hospital, where he was put into an induced coma.
He never regained consciousness and died on 28 October. A post-mortem found the main cause of death was his facial injuries.
Cheshire Police’s Detective Inspector Helen Clegg said: “This was a totally unprovoked attack on a vulnerable man who had no way of defending himself.
“On the day of the incident Michael was simply socialising with his friends and minding his own business.
“Sharples is a strong and powerful man and used his kickboxing experience to launch a vicious and sustained attack on Michael as he sat helpless in his wheelchair. He was totally focused on inflicting serious harm.
“Throughout the investigation Sharples has never shown any remorse. Instead, he attempted to place the blame on Michael, claiming that he had sold drugs to his son, claims that were totally unsubstantiated.”
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