County Durham Pair jailed for life after murdering grandfather over “facebook insult”

Two young men from County Durham who murdered a grandfather over a Facebook insult have been jailed for life.

Lewis Armstrong, 18, and Harvey Hughes, 20, attacked Ross Connelly while he was in bed in his home in Wheatley Hill, County Durham, on 1 May.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the pair attacked Mr Connelly after he insulted Armstrong’s mother on Facebook.

Both denied murder but were found guilty. Hughes was given a minimum of 26 years and Armstrong 24 years.

The court heard that 46-year-old Mr Connelly suffered multiple injuries and died at the scene following the attack.

Hughes, of Girton Close, Peterlee, and Armstrong, of Dixon Estate, Shotton Colliery, were also charged with attempting to cause grievous bodily harm in connection with another attack carried out the previous day on a man in Shotton Colliery.

The pair had denied all charges but were found guilty following a trial last month and were sentenced on Friday.

In a statement, Mr Connelly’s family said his loss had left a “hole in their lives.”

The statement said: “Ross was a good man with a huge heart and lots of love to give to both friends and family.

“Ross was a proud Shotton Colliery lad, a proud Sunderland supporter and a proud granddad who will be greatly missed.”

A Durham Police spokeswoman said: “Armstrong and Hughes are cold, calculating killers who used disturbing levels of violence to inflict terrible injuries which sadly cost Ross his life.

“They showed no remorse for their actions and even attempted to evade arrest.”

She added that she hoped the pair’s sentencing would give some solace to the victim’s family.