Two men, who killed a South Yorkshire man in his own home to steal his wallet, have been jailed for life after a jury found them guilty of murder.
Nathan Keiren Fensome, 28, of Croft Mews, Barley Croft Lane, Dinnington, and Barry Scott Plant, 36, of Sandymount Road, Wath, were convicted of murder this afternoon, following a two-and-a-half week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
Both were given life sentences with a minimum requirement of 30-years behind bars for Plant and 27-years for Fensome.
The body of 47-year-old Steven Fretwell was found lying underneath the windowsill in the bedroom of his ground floor flat in Kingswood Avenue, Laughton, on the afternoon of Sunday, December 18.
Mr Fretwell was violently beaten and left with numerous broken bones and extensive lacerations following a sustained attack, thought to be motivated by robbery.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Handley, said: "When we found Mr Fretwell’s body, he was covered in horrific injuries and straight away it was clear he had been subjected to a senseless and incredibly violent attack, heard by neighbours and described to police as though someone was being tortured.”
The men had visited Mr Fretwell’s flat in the early hours of that morning, before forcing their way in to carry out the sickening attack on him.
As detectives began what would be a detailed and complex investigation, forensic experts were also brought in and through comprehensive DNA work and CCTV analysis, Plant and Fensome were soon identified as suspects and subsequently arrested.
DCI Handley said: “As Crime Scene Investigators and forensic analysts examined Mr Fretwell’s house, they found that the offenders had carried out a systematic search of the house.
“They were clearly looking for something in particular, as evidence of the victim’s blood was found inside several of his coat pockets and later inside Fensome’s flat.
“Footprints of blood found in the victim’s flat were also looked at by a designer brand footwear expert and the print was then matched to a particular trainer.
"Through CCTV analysis we found that Nathan Fensome had been wearing similar trainers in the days leading up to Mr Fretwell’s death.
“Mr Fretwell was a vulnerable man, who could only walk short distances. These two men took advantage of that, carrying out an abhorrent attack on him, using extreme levels of violence.
They gave no thought to the impact this would have on Mr Fretwell’s friends and family and on the local community and selfishly denied any involvement in his murder throughout the trial.
“I’m pleased that they have now both been found guilty of his murder and have been jailed for over 25 years each. Although we may never know who played exactly what role, what we can be clear of is that both are responsible for the death of Mr Fretwell.
“I hope that knowing they are now behind bars for a significant length of time offers some condolence to his friends and family.”
Elaine Fretwell, Steven’s mother, has paid tribute to her youngest son, who she describes as always having had a smile on his face.
“Steven was my baby, always was and always will be and words cannot describe the loss and loneliness I feel today.
“In December 2016 I was devastated and shocked to hear of his tragic end. My life crumbled. Even now I am still unable to comprehend that he is actually gone.
“Every morning I check my phone to see if there is a message from him. Deep down I know there won’t be one, but I have to check all the same.
“Steven was one of the most caring and loving sons a parent could have. He was full of life and always had a smile on his face. I am now left with nothing but a broken heart.
“I am overcome with grief by the circumstances surrounding Steven’s death and the level of violence he endured.
“Every day Steven would tell me he loved me and despite his failings, I loved him back.”
Ashley Grant Fensome, 21, also of Croft Mews, Barley Croft Lane, Dinnington, was found not guilty of murder, following the trial.