Sunderland: Man ‘wildly attacked and left in box to die over allegations he stole £20’

A general view of Newcastle Crown Court

The trial will be heard at Newcastle Crown Court (Image: PA)

Two men are said to have brutally punched and kicked a man and then locked him in a box to die after accusing him of trying to steal £20.

Louis Whelan and Anthony Keating are on trial for the murder of Blaine Hammond, who was allegedly dragged to the Green Box or Cabin in Sunderland while he was alive.

In messages following the attack, Whelan reportedly told People on Facebook that Blaine stole £20 from him, so “I smashed him all over the place, he’s at death’s door,” adding, “I just yelled at him all over the place and he is f i would like to die need an ambulance

Another message read: “F***er tried to steal 20 bars from us so I smashed him all over the place. Head, kicks, damn elbows, the whole bunch.

Peter Glenser KC, told Newcastle Crown Court the death came to light after an anonymous phone call on December 3 last year from someone who said his friend had “fell down a set of garden steps and smashed his face in”.

The caller said the man was sleeping, breathing, and that he had wrapped him in blankets and put him in a green box resembling a phone booth.

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

Mr Glenser said: “Prosecutors say the two men in the dock took part in a brutal attack on Blaine Hammond, punching him, kicking him, stomping on him and intending to inflict really serious injuries on him in the living room of Louis Whelan’s home on Saltburn Road .

“After beating him, they threw him out the front door. One of them threw Blaine Hammond to the ground, but by that point they both knew Blaine was seriously hurt.’

The court heard Keating pull away on the moped he’d used to get there two hours earlier, while Whelan went back inside, leaving Blaine on the floor.

Mr Glenser said there had been an online exchange between Whelan and Keating, adding: “Two minutes later, Whelan left his address and was dragging Blaine Hammond across the road into that cut towards the green shack where Whelan placed Blaine and where Blaine should meet his untimely death.

“Within eight minutes, Whelan was back home. He didn’t arrange for an ambulance to be called until 9:30 the next morning when Blaine Hammond had been dead for several hours.’

The court heard that Blaine died from head injuries.

Mr Glenser said: “To put it more simply, he died because one or more people stomped and kicked his head and neck. That damaged his brain.’

When Whelan was arrested, he first said Blaine fell down a few steps in his house, then started blaming Keating.

Whelan claimed he only hit Blaine once in self-defense.

Mr Glenser said: “The Crown says this is not self-defence, this is unnecessary caning for no real reason.

“Whelan showed an absolutely callous disregard for his welfare. He cared more about keeping the distance between himself and Blaine than making sure help came.’

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

Whelan, 23, of Towcester and Keating, 23, of Sunderland both deny the murder. The process goes on.

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Justin Scacco

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