‘Savage’ pair accused of murdering young man over £20 and locking him in box to die in Springwell

A Sunderland man was allegedly subjected to a “savage” attack by two murderers over claims he stole £20 before being dumped in a box and left to die.

Blaine Hammond was allegedly murdered by Louis Whelan and Anthony Keating, who now are standing trial, and have denied the allegations. The Prosecution states that a badly-injured Blaine was dragged, while still alive, and locked in a green box or cabin, where he died.

In messages after the attack, Whelan is alleged to have told people on Facebook Blaine had stolen £20 from him so “I’ve smashed him all over, he’s on death’s door,” adding “I just brayed him all over and he is f****** dying like, need an ambulance” and tried to nick 20 bar of us so I smashed him all over.

Peter Glenser KC, told Newcastle Crown Court the death of Blaine came to light following an anonymous call. He said: “On Friday December 3 last year police officers received an anonymous report from a man who said his friend had fallen down some garden stairs and smashed his face in.

The caller claimed the man was asleep, breathing and he had wrapped him in blankets and put him in a green box similar to a telephone box.”

The caller said he lived at Saltburn Road, Springwell, Sunderland and when police went to the area they found a padlocked green box in a cut leading towards some allotments. Inside the box was the body of Blaine Hammond, 22, who had multiple severe head injuries.

Mr Glenser said: “The prosecution say the two men in the dock, between them, took part in a savage assault on Blaine Hammond, punching him, kicking him, stamping on him, intending to cause him really serious injury in the living room of Louis Whelan’s home at Saltburn Road.

“After they had beaten him, they ejected him through the front door. One of them knocked Blaine Hammond to the ground but by that point they both knew that Blaine was seriously injured.”

The court heard Keating left on the moped he had arrived there on two hours earlier with Blaine while Whelan went back inside, leaving Blaine lying on the ground.

In due course, the court heard, Whelan decided to try to get other people on Facebook to phone an ambulance. In one message, he wrote: “He took my £20 and f got it so I’ve smashed him all over, he’s on death’s door like. He’s still breathing, will you phone an ambulance”.

He is alleged to have sent another message saying: “He just tried to nick £20 off me so I just brayed him all over and he is f* dying like, need an ambulance.” Shortly afterwards, he is said to have written: “F* tried to nick 20 bar of us so I smashed him all over. Head, kicks, f elbows, the lot.”

Mr Glenser said there was an exchange online between Whelan and Keating, adding: “Two minutes later Whelan left his address and dragged Blaine Hammond across the road into that cut towards the green cabin where Whelan placed Blaine and where Blaine was to meet his premature death.

“Within eight minutes Whelan was back home. He did not ensure an ambulance was called until 9.30 the following morning, by which time Blaine Hammond had been dead for some hours.” Mr Glenser said Blaine was still alive as he was dragged to the green box.

The court heard Blaine died from head injuries. Mr Glenser said: “To put it more simply he died because a person or persons stamped and kicked on his head and neck. That damaged his brain.”

When Whelan was arrested he initially said Blaine had fallen down some steps at his home then started blaming Keating. Whelan claimed he had only punched Blaine once in self-defence. Mr Glenser said: “The Crown say this was not self-defence, this was a gratuitous beating for no real reason at all.

“Whelan showed an utterly callous disregard for his welfare. He cared more about keeping a distance between himself and Blaine than he did about ensuring help came.”

When Keating was arrested he said he kicked Blaine once after the other two fell out over the £20 but said he caused no injury, although it caused Blaine to fall to the ground. He then said Whelan had caused the injuries.

Whelan, 23, of Watling Street, Towcester and Keating, 23, of Palmerston Road, Sunderland, deny murder. The trial continues.