A teenager who beat an engineer to death in an unprovoked attack in North Somerset filmed on his friend's mobile phone has been jailed for life. 18 year old Ryan Sheppard will serve a minimum of 12 years and three months' imprisonment after admitting the murder of 35 year old Mark Roberts in Weston-super-Mare on October 12 last year.
Mr Roberts had been walking home alone following a night out with friends in the Somerset town when he was approached by four teenagers, then aged between 15 and 17. Sheppard began pestering Mr Roberts for a cigarette and to take him to a pub - requests the stepfather-of-two declined, instead suggesting the group "go home". The teenager responded by hitting Mr Roberts to the floor before a girl, then aged 15 and who cannot be named for legal reasons, took out her iPhone and started filming.
Sheppard and his friends then walked away, leaving Mr Roberts, who suffered a cardiac arrest, lying unconscious. Residents called paramedics and Mr Roberts was taken to Weston General Hospital, where he died 36 hours later.
"He will always be my one and only," she said. "As well as my children, Mark was my whole life. In the short time we had together we achieved a lot. He made me so happy."
– Zara Powell, Mark's fiancee
"There was no reason for Ryan Sheppard to suddenly turn on Mark and beat him to death but that is what happened. Now, as he begins a lengthy prison sentence, he must face up to the consequences of his actions.
“This murder sent shockwaves through the community and left people feeling stunned, angry and upset. I would like to thank the community for their support as we investigated Mark’s death and I hope the result today demonstrates our determination to investigate violent crime and put offenders before the courts.”
The parents of Mark Roberts from Weston-super-Mare, who died after being assaulted in Baildon Road at the weekend, have paid tribute to him. Lesley and Andrew Roberts say:
“Mark was our only son, loved by us, his sister Rachel, fiancée Zara and his extended family and friends. His loss has devastated us all and we do not know what life is going to be without him. It is unimaginable.
“Last year Mark found the woman he wanted to share his life with, and recently became engaged. He has been robbed of becoming a father, step-father and uncle."
A teenager has been charged with Mark's murder but the investigation into Mark’s death continues. and both the investigation team, and Mark’s family, are continuing to appeal for the community to come forward with information. Anyone who can help should contact Avon and Somerset Police on 101.
A man who died after a serious assault in Weston-super-Mare at the weekend has been named as father of two, Mark Roberts.
Police have started a murder investigation after Mr Roberts was attacked on the Bournville estate in the early hours of Saturday morning. He died in hospital yesterday. Several people have now been arrested.
This video clip shows flowers laid at the scene in tribute to Mr Roberts.