Lancashire

Man, 20, murdered Lancashire binman with sledgehammer

Stephen Whitehead Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Binman Stephen Whitehead had been in an earlier fight with Jenkins, who attacked him in revenge with a sledgehammer

A man has been found guilty of murder after bludgeoning a binman to death with a sledgehammer.

Aaron Jenkins, 20, was convicted of killing Stephen Whitehead, 49, at Pendle Skips in Burnley in July 2015.

Mr Whitehead was repeatedly hit by Jenkins with a hammer in an act of revenge following an earlier fight between the pair on 10 July.

Jenkins was convicted following a week-long trial at Preston Crown Court and will be sentenced on 3 March.

Staff at Pendle Skips discovered the body of Mr Whitehead in the firm's canteen at 07.30 GMT on Monday, 27 July.

Mr Whitehead, who worked as a binman at the skip hire firm, slept at the premises on occasion.

Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption The sledgehammer used by Jenkins in the attack on Mr Whitehead

Jenkins, of Devonshire Road, Burnley, had gone to the premises that weekend to steal a motorbike and found Mr Whitehead asleep in the canteen.

While a 17-year-old girl kept watch outside, Jenkins battered Mr Whitehead to death with a sledgehammer in revenge for their earlier fight, the court heard.

He disposed of the weapon nearby before returning home.

'Shocking violence'

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of perverting the course of justice and will be sentenced in March.

A post-mortem revealed Mr Whitehead died as a result of significant head injuries and had been struck several times with a heavy implement.

Det Ch Insp Pete Simm, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: "This was a completely unprovoked and cowardly assault, carried out in such a way that Stephen had no opportunity to defend himself.

"The level of violence used was truly shocking."

Image caption Officers and police dogs at the scene at Pendle Skips in Burnley

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