Three schoolboys including grinning teen pictured after being jailed for stabbing vulnerable man to death

THREE schoolboys who repeatedly knifed a vulnerable man to death before shoving him into a canal have been jailed for almost 50 years.

The trio of babyfaced killers – one sickeningly grinning – have been unmasked after they were convicted of their roles in the killing of Scott Anderton, 33.

GMP
The grinning Liam Bailey, 19, must serve at least 23 years and four months behind bars[/caption]
GMP
Harry Maher, 16, was found guilty by jurors and sentenced to a minimum of 16 years[/caption]
GMP
Babyfaced Liam O’Brien, of Leigh, was sentenced to 10 years in youth custody[/caption]

Liam Bailey, 19, pleaded guilty to Mr Anderton’s murder, while Harry Maher, 16, was found guilty by the jury of the same charge, and Liam O’Brien, 17, was convicted of manslaughter.

Their identities had previously been kept hidden due to legal restrictions until they were today lifted by Judge Alan Conrad QC.

He told them the “scale and savagery of the violence used almost defy belief.”

Mr Anderton was tragically found floating in the Leeds and Liverpool canal in his hometown of Leigh, Greater Manchester, on March 25.

He had been chillingly lured to a secluded stretch of the canal in the early hours of the morning by the three youngsters, before they launched their brutal attack.

Moments earlier, CCTV captured the 33-year-old walking through Leigh town centre with a plastic carrier bag, wearing a bobble hat and only one shoe.

He had the “tragic misfortune” of bumping into Bailey, O’Brien and Maher – who were carrying a bag of weapons – before they began their “horrific” act of sustained violence just after 4am.

A post mortem found Mr Anderton had suffered “35 sharp force wounds, some of them penetrating deep and some even cutting bone, as well as a number of blunt force injuries.”

The relentless attack on the young dad only ended when they pushed him into the canal – but the teens stopped him from getting out by administering further blows.

Manchester Crown Court heard Mr Anderton had bravely attempted to climb out of the water and grabbed onto the bank to pull himself up.

But he then lost consciousness and slipped into the canal, while Bailey vilely rifled through his bag as he lay helplessly in the water.

A pathologist said a number of his wounds were “defensive” and “consistent with blows being delivered to him to prevent him getting out of the canal”.

The killers then left the scene but returned twice that same morning to relish in their heinous act – and even took videos of cops combing the canal.

TWISTED TRIO

One video recovered from Bailey’s device showed police vehicles at the scene while O’Brien could be heard saying, “Hot in Leigh Town”.

Another found on O’Brien’s phone was was “decorated with clouds and a rainbow” alongside a caption saying “Good Vibes”.

After the callous killing, Maher made an internet search for “How long do u get for a murder”.

All three were arrested in the early hours of March 26.

Bailey, of Leigh, was today also found guilty of the attempted robbery of another man just hours before murdering Mr Anderton.

The 19-year-old also admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and inflicting grievous bodily harm on a man who suffered life-changing injuries following an attack on September 1 last year.

Michael Brady QC said the victim, like Mr Anderton, was targeted because he was “vulnerable and alone”.

O’Brien was also convicted by jurors of inflicting bodily harm on the same man.

Bailey received a life term on Friday and must serve a minimum of 23 years and four months behind bars.

Having been so terribly injured he was thrown into the canal while he was still alive. While he was in there you watched him struggle for life, taunted him, and let him die.

Judge Alan Conrad QC

He admitted to murdering Mr Anderton before the trial began.

Maher, of Standish, was also handed a life term and must serve a minimum of 16 years before he can be considered for parole.

O’Brien, of Leigh, was sentenced to 10 years in youth custody. 

The judge told the twisted teens: “This is a truly horrific case. The scale and savagery of the violence used almost defy belief.

“It is all the more shocking bearing in mind the youth of those involved.

“Scott Anderton suffered 35 sharp force wounds, some of them penetrating deep and some even cutting bone, as well as a number of blunt force injuries.

“Having been so terribly injured he was thrown into the canal while he was still alive. While he was in there you watched him struggle for life, taunted him, and let him die.

“You went back an hour later to see what you had done – and then, after a trip into Manchester, returned to observe and film the police activity, glorying in what you had done.”

Mr Anderton’s heartbroken family previously described the 33-year-old as the “most caring, loving, kindest person you could meet.”

His father today told his son’s killers: “My family have been left with a life sentence.”

PA
Scott Anderton, 33, was tragically stabbed to death and thrown in the canal in March[/caption]

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