Life sentence for murderer who live-streamed 'horrifying' two-hour attack to social media followers

Life sentence for murderer who live-streamed 'horrifying' two-hour attack to social media followers

A MAN who murdered his aunt's partner in a 'horrifying' attack that he streamed on social media has been handed a life sentence.

Declan O'Donnell repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped on 63-year-old Paul Cox during a two-hour rampage at a flat in Nottingham, England.

Mr Cox suffered severe injuries in the attack last February and died in hospital nine days later.

O'Donnell, 24, of Mansfield Road in Nottingham, had admitted manslaughter but was found guilty of murder and on Friday was sentenced to a minimum of 23 years behind bars.

"This was a truly horrifying attack, almost defying belief in its brutality and utterly senseless nature," said Detective Inspector Melanie Crutchley of Nottinghamshire Police.

Harrowing footage

On February 10, 2022, police were called after O'Donnell uploaded footage of his attack on Mr Cox to Facebook and Instagram.

O'Donnell's aunt, who was in the property at the time, pleaded with him to stop, as did his online followers, but he refused.

Emergency crews arrived at the flat in Mansfield Road and took Mr Cox to hospital, where he died nine days later.

O'Donnell was subsequently charged with murder.

Mr Cox sustained a catalogue on injuries, including a broken spine (Image: Nottinghamshire Police)

During the trial, jurors viewed harrowing footage of Mr Cox drifting in and out of consciousness, having been repeatedly attacked by O'Donnell over a period of around two hours.

The attack left him with a catalogue of injuries including a fractured skull, a broken spine, a broken jaw, wounds to the right side of his head and abdominal bleeding.

When police arrived, O'Donnell was uncooperative and threatened officers with a knife before being arrested.

As part of the investigation, detectives examined the footage in which O'Donnell could be heard blaming Mr Cox for his mother's death, which was related to alcohol abuse.

O’Donnell admitted manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility (Image: Nottinghamshire Police)

However, the court heard there was not a shred of evidence to support such a view.

O'Donnell admitted manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

This was not accepted by prosecutors and a trial began at Nottingham Crown Court on May 2, 2023.

On Monday, a jury found O'Donnell guilty of murder after concluding he was in control of his actions at the time of the attack.

'Relentless and humiliating assault'

Addressing O'Donnell during Friday's sentencing, Judge James Sampson accepted the defendant had been suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killing but said it did not absolve him of responsibility for the attack.

"You punched him so hard that you damaged your own hand," said the judge.

"With that punch, you knocked him out and the injury to your hand angered you even more.

"For the next almost two hours, you subjected this defenceless and semi-conscious man to a relentless and humiliating assault.

"Throughout the attack, you filmed yourself and him as he laid bloodied, beaten and distressed on the floor.

"Words do not do justice to the horror of the images the jury had to see."

Handing down a life sentence, Judge Sampson said O'Donnell would not be eligible for parole for another 21 years and 272 days, taking into account the 15 months he has already served in custody.

DI Crutchley criticised O'Donnell for failing to accept responsibility for his 'sadistic' attack on Mr Cox.

"Not only was Paul beaten unconscious over a prolonged period of time, O'Donnell was lucid enough to live-stream the attack on his mobile phone, showing no mercy throughout," she said.

"It was a sadistic attack and by refusing to accept responsibility for his horrendous actions, O'Donnell subjected Paul's loved ones to further pain by taking the case to trial, where the footage had to be replayed in open court."