A MAN has been jailed for murder after committing a "brutal" attack on a dad-of-one in a pub's toilets.

Derek Bentham, of Smithwood Avenue, Hindley was found guilty of the murder of 45-year-old Lee Christy by a jury at Bolton Crown Court last week.

The 46-year-old attacked Mr Christy at The Bear's Paw on Market Street in Hindley at around 10pm on Saturday, September 15 last year after following him into the toilets.

He assaulted Lee from behind, knocking him to the ground, before climbing on top of him and repeatedly punching him in the face.

Not content with the damage his punches were inflicting, Bentham grabbed his victim and started head-butting him.

Eventually he climbed off Mr Christy and began to walk away before turning back and kicking him one last time as he lay on the ground.

Bentham then walked out of the toilets and left the pub with his girlfriend.

Despite being so seriously injured that he had to be carried out of the toilets, Lee managed to make it home to his flat across the road before an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital. 

Leigh Journal:

The Bear's Paw in Hindley. Picture: Google Maps

Lee died three days later in hospital, with a Home Office Post Mortem confirming his cause of death as an abdominal haemorrhage due to rupture of the spleen as a result of blunt force trauma.

He also suffered a broken neck during the assault.

Addressing Bentham, recorder Martin Walsh said: "You had spent much of the day drinking and it was likely that you were heavily intoxicated at the time of the attack.

"Lee Christy had been drinking inside the pub all day. He too was heavily intoxicated at the time of the assault.

"There is no evidence that on that day there had been any animosity displayed by either of you toward each other prior to that stage.

"There was a perception on your part that Lee Christy had in the past interfered in the relationship between you and your partner.

"Whether there is any truth in that matters not and in any event there can be no justification for what then followed.

"Although the attack was not sustained or prolonged, it lasted for just over 20 seconds, it was brutal and during the course of the attack you intended to cause really serious injury.

"You are to be sentenced for murder.

"The case was opened on the basis that although you had an intention to inflict grievous bodily harm upon Lee Christy, you did not intend to kill him.

"I accept that this was the case, but the fact remains is that your violent attack upon him inflicted serious injury which directly led to his death.

"The pain, anguish and enduring sense of loss felt by family and friends is apparent from the articulate and moving impact statements which I have read."

Today, Tuesday, Bentham was given a life sentence at Bolton Crown Court and he must serve a minimum term of 13 years in prison less the time of 173 days spent on remand.

Recorder Walsh took into account that apart from a conviction for violent disorder in 1993, the defendant had no other convictions for serious violence.

If he is released he will be on licence for life.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Andy Butterworth, of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “The only appropriate word to describe Derek Bentham’s actions the night he killed Lee Christy is brutal.

“He watched him go to the toilet before following behind with the intention of causing nothing less than serious harm to Lee.

"What followed would be a horrifically violent premeditated attack that left Mr Christy bleeding and dying on a pub toilet floor.

“A life sentence is exactly what Bentham deserves and, although it won’t bring him back, I hope Lee’s loved ones will feel a sense that justice has been served.”