Shotton Colliery and Peterlee pair jailed for life for murdering Ross Connelly in Wheatley Hill as he laid in bed
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Lewis Armstrong and Harvey Hughes forced their way into Ross Connelly’s home in Alexandra Terrace, Wheatley Hill, shortly after midnight on May 1 and repeatedly assaulted him with a weapon.
Police say the pair carried out the vicious attack after 46-year-old Mr Connelly insulted Armstrong’s mother on Facebook.
The pair then fled before they were eventually arrested.
Armstrong, who was 17 at the time, and Hughes, 20, were jointly charged with murder.
They were also accused of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to another attack carried out the previous day on a man in Shotton Colliery.
The pair denied all charges but were found guilty following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court last month and returned to court to be sentenced.
Hughes, of Girton Close, Peterlee, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 years while Armstrong, now 18, of Dixon Estate, Shotton Colliery, was jailed for life with a minimum tariff of 24 years.
In a statement, Ross’s heartbroken family said afterwards: “Ross was a good man with a huge heart and lots of love to give to both friends and family. Ross was a proud Shotton Colliery lad, a proud Sunderland supporter and a proud granddad. He is greatly missed.”
A Durham Constabulary spokeswoman condemned the “vicious and unprovoked attack”, adding: “I hope today’s result will go a small way to offer some conclusion to the horrible suffering of Ross’ family, who have supported the police investigation throughout.”