Norfolk

Ronald Beacham murder: Lodger jailed for unprovoked attack

Michael O'Leary
Image caption Michael O'Leary was described in court as "boorish and unpleasant"

A man has been jailed for life with a minimum term of thirteen-and-a-half years after murdering a 65-year-old Norfolk man in an unprovoked attack.

Michael O'Leary, 57, repeatedly stamped on the head of Ronald Beacham on 4 December after a night out in Thetford.

Mr Beacham, who ran a social club in the town, suffered a heart attack and died in hospital four days later.

O'Leary was convicted of murder following a two-week trial at Norwich Crown Court.

He was sentenced immediately after jurors returned a guilty verdict.

Following the case, Det Insp Stuart Chapman, of Norfolk police, said: "This was an unprovoked assault which tragically led to the death of Ronald Beacham.

'Evil and callous'

"His actions have robbed children of a grandfather and great grandfather, and an innocent man of his retirement years."

In a statement issued through police, Mr Beacham's family said: "A void has been left in the hearts and lives of so many family and friends of Ron by the savage, evil and callous actions of a coward on such a gentle loving family man."

The trial heard O'Leary, who had been lodging with Mr Beacham's friend Kassandra Fisk, became "boorish and unpleasant" during a night out on 3 December.

After returning to Ms Fisk's home in Thetford, in the early hours of 4 December, O'Leary threatened to attack Mr Beacham.

He dragged Mr Beacham to the ground and then kicked him in the head "repeatedly".

O'Leary had claimed Mr Beacham was injured after falling "spontaneously".

He admitted being at the scene but insisted he "did absolutely nothing".

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