Sunderland killer who kicked victim’s head ‘like a football’ loses bid to clear his name

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A MAN who was given a life sentence for battering his friend to death has failed in a Court of Appeal bid to clear his name.

Mark Lewin, 42, of Tadcaster Road in Thorney Close, Sunderland, left 40-year-old dad-of-five Christopher Brown with 41 injuries after a brutal assault.

The pair had argued at a house party in Tasman Road in July 2007, with Lewin upset at how close his girlfriend, Heather Brown, was to his friend.

Lewin denied murder, but was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court in November 2007 and jailed for life.

The court heard how Lewin had lashed out at his friend’s head like he was “kicking a football”, inflicting 17 separate injuries on him because he thought he had been too friendly with Ms Brown.

Because of the severity of the attack, the only way Mr Brown’s body could be properly identified was by a number eight pool ball tattoo on the back of his neck.

Speaking after Lewin was convicted, Mr Brown’s brother Michael told the Echo: “He is no better than an animal.

“This wasn’t just a slap or a black eye, it was a sustained and brutal attack.”

Yesterday, Lewin’s case reached the Court of Appeal in London, as his lawyers fought to clear his name and secure his freedom.

Barrister John Thackray argued that Lewin’s defence team at the trial should have put forward evidence from a consultant psychiatrist.

That evidence, of mental problems suffered by Lewin, could have led to the jury taking a different view, he said.

“This was not a defendant who was simply saying for the first time he had been in low mood ... he had consulted with psychiatric services as early as 1998,” he said.

But three senior judges, led by Sir Brian Leveson, rejected the complaints and ordered Lewin to complete his sentence saying his QC at the murder trial had decisions to make on what evidence was put forward and had done so.

“It is clear that the decisions made in this case by leading counsel were entirely sustainable,” he continued. “There is nothing in this application for permission to appeal.”

Mr Brown was the second oldest son of seven boys and four girls.

He was also dad to five daughters, Natalie, Kimberley, Jade, Michaela and Amber.

Lewin will serve a minimum of 15 years behind bars before he will be entitled to apply to the Parole Board for release on licence.