Jamie McMahon murder: Pair jailed over churchyard killing

Michael Francis (left) and Mark Lewis (right) Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption Michael Francis (left) and Mark Lewis (right) killed Jamie McMahon during a robbery

Two men who kicked a snooker club worker to death in a Northampton churchyard have been jailed for life.

Jamie McMahon, 26, was attacked while taking a shortcut past St Giles' Church following a night out in October, the town's crown court heard.

Michael Francis, 33, who was found guilty of murder and robbery, will serve a minimum of 26 years in prison.

Mark Lewis, 20, who admitted the same charges, was sentenced to a minimum jail term of 20 years and eight months.

'Felt my toe shatter'

The court heard Mr McMahon, a barman at Coopers Snooker Club, was attacked in the grounds of the churchyard in the early hours of 2 October.

Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption Jamie McMahon was captured on CCTV shortly before going to the churchyard
Image caption Mr McMahon died from head injuries sustained in the attack outside St Giles Church

His body was found by a member of the public shortly before 08:00 GMT.

He had been kicked and stamped on and died of head injuries, Northamptonshire Police said.

In a police statement read to the court, Lewis, of Clickers Drive, Northampton, said: "I'd never been that angry before. I kicked him [Mr McMahon] so hard I felt my toe shatter.

"When the anger comes I can't control it, I can't stop it. It's like a black hole."

'Senseless murder'

Francis, of St James Road in the town, admitted being present during the attack but blamed Lewis for the murder.

Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption The family of Jamie McMahon said they were "devastated" by his death

He told the trial he would have gone to the police, but Lewis held a samurai sword to his neck and threatened to kill him if he did.

However, a jury at Northampton Crown Court took less than a day to find him guilty of murder and robbery.

Det Insp Louise Hemingway said after sentencing: "They are both extremely dangerous individuals who targeted a young man... for no other reason than to steal from him.

"Hopefully, these lengthy prison sentences will provide some closure to Jamie's family, who have been left heartbroken by this senseless murder."

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