'I booted him and now he's dead': Boys sentenced for beating homeless man to death in a dare

Mother of two boys jailed after being convicted of perverting the course of justice by providing false alibis

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The Independent Online

A judge has criticised the state of society while jailing a group of teenagers who murdered a homeless man by jumping up and down on his chest for a dare.

Brothers Connor, 17, and Brandon Doran, 14, were today detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure along with their friend Simon Evans, 14, for the remorseless attack on a homeless man as he slept outside a supermarket in Liverpool.

Handing down the sentences at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Clement Goldstone branded the brothers’ mother a “pathetic and tragic character” as it emerged that her eldest son was also serving time for the unrelated murder of another stranger.

Ryan Doran, 23, killed a man last year with a bottle in a takeaway chip shop after a night of heavy drinking and later told police that he could not recollect anything about the attack.

“You have another son who is serving life for murder. There are not many parents who have that sort of personal agony to bear,” the judge told Linda Doran, 42, as he jailed her for 30 months for trying to cover-up her two youngest sons’ roles in the killing.

“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.”

A fourth son, Jordan, 21, was jailed for six months earlier this year for contempt of court after using a mobile phone to capture images inside the courtroom during the trial of his mother and brothers.

The teenagers joined a group attack on Kevin Bennett, 53, a vulnerable man and a heavy drinker, that left him fatally wounded in August last year.

Connor had goaded Evans into carrying out the attack, saying that he did not believe his younger friend had the courage to carry it out. His younger brother did not take part in the attack but acted as look-out as the pair assaulted Mr Bennett, who died in hospital six days after the attack which had left him with a collapsed lung, a broken eye socket and a broken rib cage.

Evans later told his friend: “I started kicking him, I booted him and now he’s dead,” the court heard.

The three boys, who all denied murder, were found guilty on 26 February following a four-week trial.

Judge Goldstone 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.”

Connor Doran, labelled the “leader of the pack”, was sentenced to a minimum 12 years, Evans was ordered to serve at least eight years and Brandon Doran received six years for acting as look-out during the attack.

The judge told Connor Doran, who showed no emotion as he sat in the dock: “Kevin Bennett was your target and a target whom you knew to be vulnerable. Your motive was violence for violence’s sake, nothing more and nothing less.”

Speaking outside court, Mr Bennett’s cousin Angela Connerty, 49, said justice had been done. “Why did they pick on him? We keep asking, and we’ll never, ever know why they did that to him,” she said.