Life sentence for Rhyl murder of disabled man

Martin Mather
Image caption,
Police called Martin Mather 'a dangerous, unpredictable individual'

A 23-year-old described by police as dangerous and unpredictable has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a disabled man.

Martin Mather, from Rhyl, Denbighshire, admitted attacking Philip Holmes, 56, in his flat last April.

Mr Holmes, who walked with a frame, had his face, chest and neck repeatedly kicked or stamped during the attack.

At Mold Crown Court Mather was told he would serve a minimum of 17 years before he can be considered for parole.

Mr Holmes, a former coal merchant, walked with a frame after an accident at work at the age of 18 left him disabled.

'Gentle, vulnerable man'

The judge said Mather had shown no remorse for the murder of Mr Holmes, who was described in court as a "gentle, vulnerable man".

The court heard that Mather met his girlfriend after the attack, watched television and for the next eight days acted as normal.

Mather pleaded guilty to the murder.

A pathologist told the court the dead man's injuries were similar to that of a car crash victim.

Mr Holmes' sister, Carolyn Trehearn, said: "He was two days short of his 57th birthday when he was murdered and as a family we had plans to meet and celebrate this occasion.

"Martin Mather deprived us of this opportunity.

"Nothing will ever bring Phillip back and he is sadly missed by his brothers, sisters and our extended family, although he will never be far from our thoughts."

Det Ch Insp John Hanson said: "Martin Mather is a dangerous, unpredictable individual who was responsible for a brutal and sustained attack on a vulnerable member of the community.

"He showed a callous disregard for Phillip and whilst in police custody showed no remorse whatsoever for his actions."

Image caption,
Philip Holmes was murdered in his flat

CPS North Wales crown advocate Gareth Preston described it as a "vicious and senseless attack which took the life of an innocent man".

He added: "It is hard to know for certain the exact motivation behind this attack - only Martin Mather truly knows what drove him to commit such an horrific crime.

"What is clear is that Mr Mather was aware of, and exploited, Philip Holmes' vulnerable situation.

"In interviews with police after his arrest, Mr Mather also made disparaging remarks about Philip Holmes that displayed hostility toward his disability."

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