A MAN has been sentenced to 28 years behind bars for the murder of Rico Burton, a cousin of boxing star Tyson Fury.
Liam O’Pray, 22, from Salford, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court after being found guilty of murdering the 31-year-old in a "horrific" attack on August 21, 2022.
Mr Burton and his friend Harvey Reilly were out in Altrincham with their friends when O’Pray carried out the attack.
The court heard that O’Pray had been refused entry to a pub in Goose Green and became aggressive to groups of people enjoying drinks outside the pub.
An altercation soon arose between O’Pray and his friends and the group that Mr Burton and Mr Reilly were in.
The court further heard that during this incident O’Pray ran towards Mr Burton and stabbed him in the neck.
When Mr Harvey attempted to defend his friend, he was also stabbed by O’Pray. Both men collapsed with “horrific wounds" and were taken to hospital.
Mr Burton died a short while later, while Mr Harvey recovered from his injuries.
O’Pray, who was then 21 years old, was arrested at the scene and was later discovered to be under the influence of ketamine, cannabis, and cocaine.
On August 23, 2022, he was charged with the murder of Mr Burton, section 18 assault, possession of a bladed article and possession of Class A drug.
He appeared at Salford Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and class a drug, however he pleaded not guilty to murder.
He was convicted of murder following a three-week trial last month, and was sentenced on August 4 to a minimum term of 28 years for murder.
He was also sentenced for grievous bodily harm, possession of drugs and possession of an offensive weapons which he will serve concurrently to the murder sentence.
Following the sentencing, Mr Burton’s family said: “The loss of Rico has hurt us all tremendously and throughout the community.
“Rico was a friendly kind soul with humour of a comedian, his smile would and could light up any room. He would give anyone his last £1 and worked hard within his job.
“He loved all kinds of music and going out with friends, to finish his day he would sit with his mum as he was her golden boy.”
They added: “We feel we cannot celebrate events as it isn’t and won’t be the same without him; it is a constant reminder that he is no longer here with us.
“We try to keep his memory alive through the stories we tell each other and find it somewhat comforting through the pain.
“Everything we have tried to write doesn’t seem enough to show you the unbearable physical pain.
“Our hearts are broken, and we think about Rico every day, multiple times a day. When we sleep, we have nightmares.”
“We can’t remember what it’s like to have a full night’s sleep. We can’t remember what it’s feels like not to be stressed, worried or anxious.
“We don’t remember what it feels like not to grieve. We cannot see how life can go on without him."