Pair given life sentences for murder of popular Sunderland dad David Walsh

David Walsh
David Walsh

Two men have been given life sentences for the brutal murder of a devoted dad who had tried to intervene in a violent attack on his son.

David Walsh, who was unarmed, suffered 34 stab wounds and cuts, as well as a number of other injuries, during a savage beating at the hands of brutal mob, who used an "assortment" of weapons.

He died in a back lane in Sunderland, where he had gone after he was told that one of his sons was being assaulted there.

The 45-year-old, who had the nickname Boff, died as a result of massive blood loss as a result of damage to blood vessels linked to the heart, lungs and kidneys.

At Newcastle Crown Court Raymond Brown, 37, of Canon Cockin Street, Sunderland, was sentenced to life and told he must serve a minimum of 26 years.

Charles Lamont, 40, of Villette Road in the city also got a life term and will be behind bars for at least 13 years.

Brown, who used at least one knife in the attack, had pleaded guilty to murder and violent disorder. Lamont, who was armed with a metal bar, was convicted by a jury after a trial.

Lamont's son Dalton Barnett, of Fuller Road, Sunderland, who used a baseball bat during the violence, was jailed for six years for his part in the killing. He was cleared of murder and violent disorder but convicted of manslaughter.

The 19-year-old, who was on a suspended sentence and a conditional discharge at the time, was given an extra four months for the breach of previous orders.

Mr Justice Globe said each attacker was armed with at least one weapon and told them: "I am satisfied, at no stage, was David Walsh ever armed.

"He ended up against a wall where he was attacked by you three defendants, who came out armed with weapons and set upon him with unlawful violence.

"It is significant that no-one fighting with David Walsh at that time suffered any injury from that violence.

"That supports the fact that by then he was having to defend himself from attack rather than being able to deliver any blows of his own."

The judge said the knife attack by Brown was carried out "swiftly and savagely" and with severe force, causing "catastrophic" injury.

Despite this, the judge said Mr Walsh's death was not instantaneous.

The judge added: "There would have been significant physical suffering as he was fighting for his life when, between you all, you were raining blows upon him with one or more of your weapons."

Justice Globe said a victim impact statement submitted to the court on behalf of Mr Walsh's family explained the "emotional devastation" caused by his death.

The judge said: "It is clear to me, David Walsh was not only a large man in size and build but in character and in influence in relation to his family.

"He left behind a devoted wife, loving sons and brothers and may family members and friends."

The judge said the family's daily attendance at court during the trial, which lasted more than four weeks, showed their devotion to a man "they looked up to in more ways than one".

The court heard during the trial Mr Walsh had gone to the lane between Canon Cockin Street and Fuller Road in Hendon, Sunderland, on November 20 last year when he found out his son David Richardson, aka Walsh, was being assaulted.

Mr Walsh, who was described in court as a "big strong man", wanted to know "who had done this to his son", was angry and ready to fight, the court heard.

The court heard violence involving a number of men broke out in the lane, one of whom was knocked unconscious by Mr Walsh.

Mr Walsh was then subjected to a deadly attack using weapons.

Mr Walsh's other son Kyle Richardson, aka Walsh, who drove him to the scene, saw the aftermath of the savagery used on his dad.

Prosecutor Robert Smith QC told the court: "He could see one of his father's arms was very badly cut.

"He had a large cut to his abdomen, from which his intestines were protruding.

"There was so much blood it was difficult for him to see the extent of his father's injuries.

"Kyle Walsh tried to find a pulse but could find nothing.

"He stood there, shouting 'look at the state of him, look what you have done to him'.

"Those responsible had gone."

Mr Smith told jurors at least one knife, possibly a machete, as well as a crow bar, a metal tool and a broom handle were among the weapons used during the violence.

The court heard a witness who could see the murder scene from his home, saw Brown thrust a knife into Mr Walsh and keep it in as "he was going down".

The violence then continued, despite severe stab wounds already being inflicted.

Brown confessed during a phone call the day after the killing that he was frightened when the violence broke out and had "stabbed" and "gutted" Mr Walsh.

Toby Hedworth QC, defending Barnett, told the court: "He did not intend anyone to suffer really serious bodily injury."

Alistair MacDonald QC, defending Lamont, who has no recent relevant convictions, said: "He had no intention to kill, this was a fast moving and confusing event."

Francis Fitzgibbon, defending Brown, who has no record for violence, said: "He admitted he stabbed the deceased and said he 'lost it'."

Raymond Brown

Raymond Brown

Charles Lamont

Charles Lamont

Dalton Barnett

Dalton Barnett

David Walsh and wife Trisha

David Walsh and wife Trisha

Flowers left at the scene where David Walsh was murdered

Flowers left at the scene where David Walsh was murdered

Floral tributes at the funeral of David Walsh, known as 'Boff' to family and friends

Floral tributes at the funeral of David Walsh, known as 'Boff' to family and friends