Wed, 10 May 2023 at 5:01 pm BST
A man bludgeoned his neighbour to death with a bag full of Pokemon cards, a court has heard.
Andrew Hague, 31, murdered Simon Wilkinson, 50, in a “ferocious and brutal” attack with makeshift weapons including a bag containing metal tins of the trading cards.
He also punched and stamped on the father-of-one in a sustained assault outside his flat which was witnessed by neighbours, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Jailing Hague for life with a minimum of 17 years, judge Sarah Wright said: “This was an unremitting and merciless attack upon a neighbour of yours where you took the decision during the savage assault to kill him.”
Prosecutor Laura Marshall said Hague and Wilkinson had been involved in a verbal altercation with each other, during which Wilkinson reportedly called Hague a “nonce b——d”.
After telling Wilkinson to “come out here and fight like a man”, Hague attacked him with a bag containing four or five tins of Pokemon cards, she said.
Witnesses described seeing Hague repeatedly swinging the bag “like a cricketer”, leaving Wilkinson bloodied and lifeless on the ground, Ms Marshall told the court.
Hague then repeatedly punched and stamped on the victim before retrieving a bat or a plank of wood and hitting him “numerous times,” the court heard.
Several neighbours who witnessed the prolonged attack made emergency calls to 999, and armed police and paramedics both arrived at the scene at 8.31pm.
But Wilkinson was pronounced dead at the scene just minutes after they arrived.
A post mortem examination showed he died as a result of head and facial injuries, from repeated severe blows.
Police body-cam footage showed Hague retreated to his ground floor flat and put several layers of clothing on as armed officers negotiated with him.
He subsequently agreed to be handcuffed and arrested, leaving his flat via a window.
He pleaded guilty to murder at a previous hearing last month and was jailed on Tuesday.
Hague suffered from a psychotic illness, most likely schizophrenia, and a personality disorder, and had stopped taking his medication before the killing, the court heard.
Andrew Vout KC, Hague’s barrister, said his illness fell short of offering him a defence of diminished responsibility or insanity, but it was a “significant factor” in the killing.
He said: “He’s made choices, but he’s made them through a distorted prism.”
In a statement read to the court, Wilkinson’s mother Eileen said: “I cannot describe the pain and heartbreak we feel, which is unbearable at times, caused by a barbaric, brutal and evil attack of violence.
“Simon was loved by friends and family for his sense of humour, kindness and friendship.”