The family of a disabled murder victim have slammed a fake Facebook account featuring a sick posting that says his killers should “get a medal”.
Brent Martin died in 2007 after he was brutally attacked in Town End Farm, Sunderland, over a £5 bet by thugs who challenged each other to see who could knock him out first.
The 23-year-old, who had learning disabilities, was kicked, punched and head-butted by William Hughes, then 22, Marcus Miller, 16, and Stephen Bonallie, 17, who had all trained as boxers.
They were all jailed for life the following year.
Now Brent’s family have spoken of their disgust after they were alerted to a Facebook account set up in his name and including his photograph, which made vile slurs about him and praised his killers.
Northumbria Police is investigating the posts, one of which said it was “sick of hearing how he was targeted”.
The coward that’s done this will not discredit my brother in anyway because there is people out there that knew him.Danielle Flynn
Brent’s twin Danielle Flynn, 32, became aware of the fake account when whoever is behind it sent friend requests to her own pals.
The sales advisor said: “I cannot comprehend myself why anyone would do it. I’m absolutely devastated.
“The ones who have done this should be jailed.
“What they have said is disgusting, they are just as bad and they need mental health help. I have sent them a message telling them they are nothing but cowards.
“What they have said is absolute and awful lies.”
Brent also left behind mum Brenda, 71, brother Alex, 48, and sisters Beverley, 46, Angela, 50, and Tracey, 51.
Danielle added: “Mam will be absolutely devastated about this.
“I didn’t want her to find out, but she’s been told.
“I spoke to the police last night and they have been brilliant and have told me they will do everything they can to track them down and bring them to justice.”
“Me and my family have been through enough.
“My mother has had more heartache to last her a lifetime, it breaks my heart to think that someone out there can do this. The person who has created this is a spineless coward, to make up vulgar lies and say such sick twisted things.
“The coward that’s done this will not discredit my brother in any way because there are people out there that knew him.
“It’s not just made me angry and sick to my stomach but it’s also made the community angry, as this has been passed around Facebook.
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “We can confirm we have received a report of offensive messages being posted on social media and are carrying out inquiries to identify those responsible and take appropriate action.”
The messages could be classed as a public order offence.
Facebook has also said it is investigating the posts.
The brutal killing of Brent Martin
Brent Martin was chased and attacked just three months after he was released from a psychiatric hospital, where he had been staying because of his learning difficulties.
He had dreams of becoming a landscape gardener and was looking forward to moving on with his life.
A post mortem examination found he died after suffering a massive head injury and had suffered at least 18 separate blows to the head and neck.
During the ordeal, he was stripped of his trousers and pants and left dying next to a parked car in Baxter Road, as his killers posed for photos.
At Newcastle Crown Court, William Hughes, of Washington Road, was told he must serve a minimum of 22 years, Stephen Bonallie, from Birtley Avenue, for 18 years and Marcus Miller, of Baxter Road, at least 15 years, with that reduced to 13 years after a Court of Appeal hearing.
Hughes, and Miller, 16, had admitted the murder but Bonallie had denied the charge.
Judge John Milford described the attack as “sadistic conduct on an extremely vulnerable victim” and said Brent has been a “gentle and caring person” who had a long history of mental health problems.
In July this year, Miller was told his early application for parole had been rejected after a judge heard about his continued use of drug taking and violence in prison, as well as how his inability to control his anger had contributed to the murder.
His legal team had argued his jail term should be cut because of the progress he had made in jail.
Brent’s grieving family have campaigned for tougher sentences for killers.