Liverpool teenagers sentenced for homeless man's murder

Connor Doran, Brandon Doran and Simon Evans
Image caption Connor Doran, 17, Brandon Doran, 14, and Simon Evans, 14 were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court

Three teenagers who murdered a homeless man in Liverpool for a dare have been given custodial sentences.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Kevin Bennett, 53, was attacked as he slept outside a supermarket on 17 August.

He suffered a fractured eye socket, a collapsed lung and a broken ribcage and died in hospital six days later.

Brothers Connor and Brandon Doran, aged 17 and 14, and Simon Evans, 14, were told they would be detained until the home secretary approved their release.

Passing sentence, Judge Clement Goldstone QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, said: "I think it is a desperately sad reflection on this society that each of you was party to serious violence purely for the sake of it."

Mother jailed

Connor Doran, labelled the "leader of the pack" by the judge, was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years.

Image caption The judge described Linda Doran as a "pathetic character"

Evans was ordered to serve at least eight years and Brandon Doran received six years for acting as lookout during the attack.

The three boys, who all denied murder, were found guilty in February following a four-week trial.

The Doran brothers' mother, Linda Doran, 42, was jailed for 30 months after being convicted by the jury of perverting the course of justice by providing false alibis for her sons.

Her eldest son, Ryan, 23, was convicted of murder and jailed for life in October after he attacked a stranger with a bottle in a chip shop.

Another of her sons, Jordan, 21, was jailed for six months in February for contempt of court after using a mobile phone to capture images of the courtroom during the trial of his brothers and mother.

The judge described Linda Doran as a "pathetic and tragic character".

'I booted him'

He said: "You have another son who is serving life for murder. There are not many parents who have that sort of personal agony to bear.

"But then again, not that many mothers would have shown themselves to be either so unwilling or unable to shoulder the responsibility of motherhood as you have."

The court had heard Mr Bennett had been in a pub from 11:00 BST on 16 August and had consumed up to 12 cans of lager.

Image caption Kevin Bennett was described in court as "vulnerable" and a "heavy drinker"

He left at about midnight with a bag containing cans of beer and slept rough behind an Iceland store on County Road, Walton. He was attacked at about 05:30 BST the following morning.

The jury was told Connor Doran had goaded Evans by saying: "I bet you haven't got it in you to do him in."

Evans later told his friend: "I started kicking him, I booted him and now he's dead."

Brandon Doran stood lookout as the attack took place, the prosecution said.

Mr Bennett was described as "vulnerable" and a "heavy drinker" by the prosecution.

He died in hospital from blood poisoning after an infection set in, causing organ failure.

Det Insp Cheryl Rhodes, who led the investigation, said: "The defendants went out looking for trouble that night and CCTV shows them roaming the empty streets in the early hours of the morning.

"The suffering Kevin endured before his death and the pain and heartbreak inflicted on his family can never be taken back, but I hope that the conviction and sentencing of these young men brings them a sense of closure and justice."

Speaking outside court, Mr Bennett's cousin Angela Connerty, 49, said: "Justice has been done and that's all we wanted as a family.

"We keep asking, why did they pick on him? We will never, ever know why they did that to him."

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