Murderer who killed friend after night in the pub gets life sentence

Murderer who killed friend after night in the pub gets life sentence

A MAN who beat his friend to death following a night out together in the pub has been sentenced to life behind bars for his murder.

Lee Francis Burns had been out drinking and playing pool with his friend, Manchester Irishman Vincent McDonagh on November 9, 2023, before the night turned violent.

While the pair walked home an argument broke out which saw Burns, of Worsley Street in Oldham, Greater Manchester, attacking and then leaving Mr McDonagh for dead in the street on Abbey Hills Road in Oldham.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers found Mr McDonagh, a 45-year-old father-of-one, with a serious head injury.

Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, he passed away a short time later.

CCTV footage which captured the attack, led officers to Burns, 38, who was convicted of murdering Mr McDonagh at Manchester Crown Court, despite his claims that he had acted in self defence.

Mr McDonagh was described as a 'devoted family man' (Image: Greater Manchester Police)

The court heard that following the attack, in which he punched, kicked and stamped on his friend, Burns fled the scene and told one of his neighbour’s “I think I’ve killed Vinny, ive stamped on his head’.

In a hearing at Manchester Crown Court yesterday, Burns was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years and 164 days.

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Paul Davies from GMP’s Serious Crime Division said: “I would like to convey my deepest condolences to Vinny’s fiancé Demi and their son Frankie, who will have to continue their lives without Vinny, something that will undoubtedly leave a huge void in their family.”

“Vinny and Lee Burns were friends and spent the evening in their local pub. Whilst walking home, Burns began to shout and become aggressive toward Vinny before taking him to the floor. He continued to assault him, knocking him unconscious as he lay defenceless on the ground,” he explained.

“Burns then made his way home making no attempt to get help for Vinny. Throughout this trial, Burns has maintained innocence saying he was acting in self-defence.

Lee Francis Burns has been sentenced to life in prison

“Our investigation has been meticulous, and we were able to draw up a timeline of both men’s movements, securing CCTV and audio footage from local premises.

“I would like to thank the initial attending officers and the investigating team whose swift actions, hard work and dedication ensured Burns was identified and arrested within a short space of time.

“We will continue to support Vinny’s family in every way we can, and I hope today’s result can go some way to providing closure for them,” he added.

Paying tribute following Mr McDonagh’s death, partner Demi described him as a "an amazing fiancé, a loving dad and devoted family man”.

"He was kind and helpful to everyone and nothing was ever too much to ask," she added.

"Vinny was an amazing fiancé, a loving dad and devoted family man," she said.

"He was kind and helpful to everyone and nothing was ever too much to ask

She added: "Our lives are so empty without him, we cannot believe someone would just take him away."