A disabled man was lynched and beaten by two men in a park in an English town before being dumped in a pond and left for dead.
Brendan Mason, 23, who suffered from several learning disabilities, was lured into Abbey Park in Leicester in the early hours of July 5, 2016, by two men he thought to be his friends.
Joshua Hack and Keith Lowe hanged Mason from a tree and took turns hitting and taunting him.
The two man then filmed each other assaulting Mason, telling him to “smile for the camera.”
Mason, who was discovered with 99 separate injuries to his head and body, eventually fell unconscious. The two men then stripped him and threw him into a nearby pond. He was found several hours later by groundsmen, still unconscious and bleeding.
The victim was airlifted to the nearest hospital but later died from “unsurvivable” brain damage, Leicester Crown Court heard. Medics also found the attack had left Mason with five broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
CCTV footage of Lowe and Hack captured that morning shows the two men casually walking into a McDonald’s.
Hack had already admitted to the murder. After initially pleading innocent, Lowe changed his plea when police found a video of him “landing blows” on Mason’s “battered and naked body.”
Lowe had attempted to delete the video from his phone but officers found it on the Cloud.
According to prosecutor Miranda Moore QC, the video was “being made for a third party to show them what happened to Brendan.”
Facebook messages between the two attackers were also found. Hack told Lowe at 2.56am on the day of the attack: “Just do it dude.”
“They were using their phones to communicate because Brendan doesn’t know what’s about to happen to him,” Moore explained in court.
Both men were sentenced to life in prison on Monday afternoon, with Judge Michael Chambers condemning the attackers for their “extreme violence” and the “pain and humiliation” they caused their victim.
“I find that each of you were equally involved and responsible for what was a joint attack. I’m satisfied you made the recording for your own gratification and took a number of trophy photographs,” the judge added.
Mason’s family published a statement ahead of the sentencing thanking the police and those who supported them, but added that they would never find closure.
“It is not right how two evil people can do such a horrific thing and leave a massive hole in our lives that will never be filled again,” the statement read.
“You clearly knew the difference between right and wrong. You were in full possession of your faculties.”
Hack will have to serve a minimum of 20 years and six months in prison, while Lowe was given a 21-year sentence before being considered eligible for parole.