A martial arts expert who repeatedly kicked a helpless wheelchair-bound father-of-two to death in Warrington has been sentenced to life in prison.
Daniel Sharples was convicted of the murder of 53-year-old Michael Mairs following an eight-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court which concluded on Wednesday 14 September.
Today, Tuesday 27 October, the 38-year-old of Griesdale Avenue, Orford, Warrington, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 21 years. The attack took place on Sunday 6 October 2019.
Sharples began his day at 9.40am when he went for breakfast with a pint at the Looking Glass in Warrington town centre.
He then went on to the Hop Pole where he had more alcohol to drink along with several shots of Sambuca. Sharples then left the pub at around midday and made his way up Winwick Street.
As he went under the railway bridges he came across Michael who was drinking with friends.
Sharples began to verbally abuse the group, before attacking Michael’s two friends – who both fled the scene after being repeatedly punched in the face.
He then turned his attention to Michael who was unable to escape – he initially punching him in the face, before tipping his wheelchair over and repeatedly kicking him in the head as he lay helpless on the floor.
As the attack continued, a member of the public intervened and attempted to pull Sharples off Michael, who was barely conscious on the floor.
However, the attack was not over, and before fleeing the scene he grabbed Michael’s wheelchair from underneath him and tossed it aside.
He then ran off on foot, but was arrested a short time later after attempting to evade officers.
Upon his arrest Sharples admitted the attack – claiming that he carried it out as Michael had sold heroin to his son.
Michael was initially treated at the scene by paramedics before being transported to Warrington District General Hospital with injuries reported to be life-threatening by the Paramedics.
Due to the severity of his injuries, he was placed into an induced coma and transferred to intensive care.
Sadly, despite the best efforts of all those involved, Michael never regained consciousness and died on Monday 28 October.
A post mortem found that whilst Michael had suffered multiple organ failure, the central cause of death was the significant facial injuries sustained during the violent attack.
Sharples was initially charges with Section 47 assault to which he pleaded guilty.
However, following Michael’s death, Sharples was interviewed again by Cheshire officers and then subsequently charged with Murder.
Following the verdict Detective Inspector Helen Clegg said: “This was a totally unprovoked attack on a vulnerable man who had no way of defending himself.
“On the day of the incident Michael was simply socialising with his friends and minding his own business.
“Sharples is a strong and powerful man and used his kick boxing experience to launch a vicious and sustained attack on Michael as he sat helpless in his wheelchair. He was totally focused on inflicting serious harm.
“Throughout the investigation Sharples has never shown any remorse. Instead, attempted to place the blame on Michael, claiming that he had sold drugs to his son, claims that were totally unsubstantiated.
“He went on to claim that he had taken Valium prior to the attack and was unable to control himself and had no recollection of what happened.
“Thankfully, the jury have seen though his lies and he is now facing the consequences of his actions.”
David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “This crime shocked the local community and deeply saddened all those who knew Michael.
“I would like to thank all of the officers involved in the investigation who have helped to get justice for Michael’s family and friends.
“My thoughts are with them at this difficult time I hope this conviction gives them some form of comfort.”
Detective Inspector Clegg added: “I would like to thank all of the member of the public who helped Michael on the day, along with those who have come forward with information.
“Their evidence was compelling and a driving force behind the conviction of this man for Michael’s murder.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the courage that Michael’s children have shown throughout this case.
“I hope the conviction of Sharples, and the sentence handed to him, will help them, and all those who knew him, to continue to come to terms with what happened and move forward with their lives.”