'It is the worst news any parent can hear'': Parents of John Littlewood speak of their heartache as his murderer Marty Bates is jailed
John Littlewood’s family have spoken of the devastation they faced in the wake of the murder of the much-loved dad.
The 36-year-old’s killer Marty Bates, 31, of Tenth Street, Blackhall Colliery, has today, Thursday, May 13, been jailed for a minimum of 24 years at Teesside Crown Court.
It is believed intoxicated Bates, a friend of Hartlepool man Mr Littlewood, used a hammer or similar to cause head injuries to the dad-of-two.
Judge Paul Watson QC warned Bates he may never be released for the “ferocious, brutal and sustained attack” on Mr Littlewood, known as John D.
In a statement to court, the victim’s father John said: “My first thought was that I hoped John D had not suffered and that he had passed away peacefully.
"To my horror, I was informed John D had in fact been murdered.
"This must be the worst news any parent can hear about their child.”
Both he and Mr Littlewood’s mother Pamela Hall told of the joy their kind-hearted lad brought them, with Mrs Hall speaking of their special bond.
In statements through Durham Constabulary, Mr Littlewood Snr added: “After 22 long and painful months my family and I can now lay my son to rest knowing that the person responsible for his murder has admitted his guilt.
“We can now try to move forward, sadly without John D in our lives, but always in our hearts.”
Mrs Hall said he had been a “loving son” and was greatly missed.
She said: “The death of my son John D has destroyed our family, leaving us heartbroken knowing our lives will never be the same again.
“The fact my son was murdered was bad enough.
"This person could have taken responsibility from the day he was arrested, which would have prevented us having to listen to the final moments of John D’s life at the trial.
“This has been unbearable at times and no words can explain the pain and torture that I have gone through.
"There are no words to describe the pain, which we all feel, but we hope that the justice served will hopefully give us some comfort knowing the person responsible for the murder of my son can’t harm anyone else.”
Both thanked those who have supported them since their son’s death.