A martial arts thug who killed a grandfather in a wheelchair then told police ‘I’m glad I did it’ was today found guilty of murder.
Daniel Sharples subjected vulnerable amputee Michael Mairs to a ‘vicious’ assault underneath a railway bridge.
He tipped the 53-year-old out of his wheelchair during a ‘brutal attack’, from which the defenceless victim died three weeks later.
Daniel Sharples, pictured, was convicted of the murder of Michael Mairs, 53, who was an amputee following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court. The 38-year-old told police ‘I’m glad I did it and I’ll do it again’
Sharples had ordered pints of lager, pancakes and Sambuca shots for breakfast in two pubs beforehand.
When the 38-year-old was arrested after the killing, officers told him that seriously injured Mr Mairs had been rushed to hospital.
But he told police: ‘The guy in the wheelchair…the one who sold my son smack. Well I’m never gonna go against that.
‘I’m glad I did it and I’ll do it again.
‘He’s f****** nearly killed my 15-year-old son, he’s in a coma and youse have done nothing.’
A trial heard his teenage son gave a statement, saying he had never taken drugs and didn’t know and had never met Mr Mair.
The father also alleged Mr Mair supplied spice to his son, but neither the teen, nor Sharples’ step-son, said they had ever taken it.
Sharples admitted manslaughter, but denied murder, in relation to the attack in Warrington town centre on the afternoon of October 6 last year.
He decided not to take the stand and offered no evidence in his defence, which rested solely on his barrister’s closing speech.
Jurors took 10 hours of deliberation to unanimously find him guilty of murder, after a seven-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
Liverpool Crown Court heard the victim, Michael Mairs, pictured, suffered from poor health, including chronic alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver and deep vein thrombosis, which led to the partial amputation of his left leg
Mr Mairs was a ‘much loved’ father to his son and daughter, and had a young granddaughter, but suffered from poor health, including chronic alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver and deep vein thrombosis, which led to the partial amputation of his left leg.
During the trial, Richard Pratt, QC, prosecuting, said his attacker had ‘undoubted prowess and skill’ in martial arts.
The jury watched videos that Sharples had posted on Facebook, which showed him launching high kicks at targets.
One woman, who saw Sharples kick Mr Mairs to the face, described it as a ’round kick, the type a martial artist might use’.
A bus driver said Sharples punched Mr Mairs in the face while the victim was in his wheelchair, then kicked him to his head as he lay unconscious on the ground.
Another witness said: ‘It was like something from a film, like a karate kick, it looked hard and fast.
‘The attacker’s leg went quite high to kick him in the face.
Sharples will return to Liverpool Crown Court on October 27 for sentencing
‘I think the force of the kick sent the wheelchair flying backwards with the man in it.’
The woman said Sharples tipped his victim out of the chair before kicking him again, as onlookers gasped in terror.
When one witness tried to persuade him to stop and said police were coming, he replied: ‘I don’t give a f***, he’s been selling spice to my 15-year-old-son.’
But after his apparent confession to officers, Sharples seemed to backtrack.
Mr Pratt said: ‘A little later, perhaps realising that what he was saying might not be helpful, he said he wanted to ‘take it back because I am drunk now’.’
Sharples said: ‘I take it all back. I have not touched that guy.
Because you shouldn’t really be asking me this stuff.
I’m p***ed up.’
The court heard Sharples, of Grisedale Avenue, Orford, Warrington, was ‘wholly intoxicated on alcohol and valium’ and claimed to remember nothing about the incident.
However, after the attack, he removed his jacket and cap, then tried to make a getaway by entering a pub and climbing over a back wall in a beer garden, but was arrested in a car park.
A barmaid who had served him at 11am said Sharples ordered a Sambuca shot, along with a pint a lager, to meet a minimum £5 spend requirement when paying by card.
Twenty minutes later, he ordered four more shots, giving two to another customer, who he didn’t appear to know, then asked whether he was in a nearby ice cream shop.
The barmaid said Sharples asked if his mobile phone had been found, despite having given it to her to charge, and she thought he was on drugs, so stopped serving him.
In his closing speech, Mr Pratt suggested Sharples was guilty of murder because he forcefully kicked his victim in the head in a ‘persistent’ and ‘controlled’ attack.
He said despite his ‘intoxication’, there was the ‘presence of mind to remove his clothing and change appearance and a determined effort to escape’.
Mr Pratt told the jury: ‘You don’t have to rely on what he did, because he told you. He told people at the time what he was doing, and why he was doing it.
‘When you look at things that were done and said by the defendant, you can be left in no doubt at all as to his intention.’
Stephen Wood, QC, defending, said the jury shouldn’t hold the fact
Sharples didn’t give evidence against him and couldn’t be sure he intended to kill or cause really serious harm – the requirement to convict a person of murder.
He said his client did a ‘terrible thing’, but said there was ‘at least a nagging doubt as to what he actually intended’ given he was ‘clearly intoxicated’.
Mr Wood said witnesses described Sharples as a ‘nutcase’, who was ‘frothing at the mouth’, and in a police van he was calm, then suddenly flipped and banged his head on the door, before he soiled himself and stripped naked in a cell, then punched himself.
He said: ‘The overwhelming conclusion is that Daniel Sharples was not in control, far from it.’
Sharples will be sentenced on October 27.