Four people have been jailed after a homeless man was severely beaten to death before being set on fire inside a tent in Greater Manchester.
Daniel Smith, 23, was punched, kicked, stamped on and beaten with a hammer, bat and broom handle while taking shelter taking under a railway arch by Trinity Wan and Irwell Street in Ordsall in Salford on 19 January 2016.
Smith was accompanied by Luke Benson, 25, Adam Acton, 25, and Acton's 28-year-old girlfriend Amanda Briggs. During a trial at Manchester Crown Court, the jury heard how Smith woke up and urinated on a sleeping bag which belonged to one of the other three.
In retaliation, Benson, who had been drinking, punched Smith in the head before throwing a chair at him. Acton and Briggs soon joined in on the assault, punching, kicking and stamping on Smith till he was left unable to speak because he was in so much pain.
Acton then proceeded to hit Smith with a hammer, a bat and a broom handle, which was later found broken in two. The attack left Smith with severe facial injuries, including swelling to his eyes and head. The group then moved his limp body inside a tent and left him.
Nearly two hours later, during which Acton was said to have been bragging that he and Benson had just "beaten up a kid in the arch and hit him with a hammer", Benson bought a cigarette lighter and a large canister of lighter fuel before returning to the arch.
After seeing that Smith had died from his injuries, Benson suggested that they set fire to the tent with Smith's body still inside. Firefighters were called to the blaze around 1:20am on 20 January, where they discovered Smith's body.
Acton and Benson were both found guilty of murder and have now been jailed for 22 and 21 years respectively. Briggs has been sentenced to 12 months in jail for perverting the course of justice. A fourth defendant, 17-year-old Connor Cain, was also jailed for 18 months for the same offence as Briggs.
Superintendent Emily Higham said: "Benson and Acton subjected Daniel to a sustained, violent and sickening assault before setting fire to him in an attempt to hide what they had done. Briggs and Cain then tried to help them cover up their horrifying actions and hide information about their crimes from police.
"While this sentence can never make up for what this man's family have lost, I hope it can help bring some closure to them after this tragic attack. I would also like to pay tribute to the witnesses in this case who had the courage to come forward and help secure these sentences."