Kenneth Howson jailed for life for 'brutal' murder

Kenneth Howson and Daniel Waddington
Image caption Kenneth Howson and Daniel Waddington have been jailed for life

A 26-year-old Burnley man who battered his late mother's ex-partner to death has been jailed for life.

Kenneth Howson was convicted of James Atkinson's murder in October 2010 after a retrial at Preston Crown Court.

He was convicted in March of murdering Mr Atkinson's friend Neil Gilmour but that jury could not reach a verdict on Mr Atkinson's death.

Daniel Waddington, 23, who was also convicted of Mr Gilmour's murder, also received a life sentence.

Mr Howson's younger brother Lee, 19, who at an earlier hearing admitted perverting the course of justice, was given a 12-month community order.

Image caption James Atkinson and Neil Gilmour were "brutally attacked"

Kenneth Howson, of Williams Road, Burnley, denied murdering Mr Atkinson and Mr Gilmour, who were found with multiple injuries at an address on Waddington Avenue in the town.

Waddington, of Pine Street, Burnley, had denied murdering Mr Gilmour.

The two victims were kicked, beaten and hit with a wine bottle and a large piece of wood after all four men had been drinking at the flat where Mr Atkinson and Mr Gilmour lived.

John Dilworth, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's North West Area Complex Case Unit, said: "James Atkinson and Neil Gilmour were killed in a brutal attack.

"We will probably never know exactly what went on in the flat that night but the injuries that they received could only have been inflicted in a sustained and vicious assault."

He added: "Kenneth Howson admitted during the trial that he had violently assaulted James Atkinson but denied it was murder.

"It was the prosecution case that he had actually taken the lead in the violence and it was clear to us from the evidence that he had intended to kill James or cause him very serious injuries."

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