Three Preston men jailed for brutal killing of father

Keith Peel (left), David Carroll and Michael Casey
Image caption Peel (left) had admitted murder at Preston Crown Court

Three men who befriended another man in a Lancashire pub, before later turning on him and beating him to death, have been jailed for life.

David Splatt, 35, was found floating in the water near the Grange estate in Ribbleton, Preston, in December 2009.

Michael Casey, 19, David Carroll, 21, and 27-year-old Keith Peel were convicted of murder and sentenced on Tuesday.

Mr Justice Henriques said they were guilty of a "savage and brutal murder".

Det Ch Insp Andy Hulme, of Lancashire Police, described the crime as one of the most appalling he had investigated.

Mr Splatt had met cousins Casey and Carroll during a night out in Preston city centre and accepted an invitation to go back to Casey's flat, where they were joined by Peel.

Stripped of clothing

The court heard they were all were friendly until Mr Splatt attempted to leave, when he was knocked to the ground and then kicked repeatedly in the head and ribs.

He came around briefly before being attacked again. Scientific evidence uncovered splashes of blood in the flat's hall, living room and kitchen.

The court heard that he was stripped of clothing, then dragged 100 yards through the snow and then dumped in a brook where he drowned.

The judge told them: "At seven o'clock in the morning, freezing and snowing outside, you were deliberately disposing of him in the hope that no connection could be made between his naked body and yourselves."

Mr Splatt's body was found floating in the water on land between Moor Nook and the Grange estate by a man walking his dog.

Mr Justice Henriques added said: "This was a most savage and brutal murder. This was violence for violence's sake.

"It was absolutely clear that Mr Splatt, a man of only 5ft 4in or 5ft 5in in height, did nothing whatsoever to bring about the terrible death that he met."

Casey, of Fir Trees Avenue, and Carroll, of Burholme Place, had denied murder but were found guilty by a jury at Preston Crown Court last month. Peel, of Burnslack Road, pleaded guilty.

Casey was told he must serve at least 16 years before being considered for parole. Carroll must serve a minimum of 18 years and Peel 18 years and four months.

Speaking after the hearing, investigator Mr Hulme said: "I am extremely satisfied with the outcome of this investigation. This was a particularly callous and brutal murder."

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