Teenager who murdered stepfather in a "frenzied" attack jailed for life

Daniel Reed, 19, was told he must serve a minimum of 24 years in custody. Credit: ITV Yorkshire

A teenager who murdered his stepfather in a "frenzied" knife and hammer attack before boasting about the killing has been jailed for life.

Daniel Reed, 19, was told he must serve a minimum of 24 years in custody after admitting to the murder of 53-year-old Shaun Skelton.

Leeds Crown Court heard Reed "loathed" his stepfather and attacked him on a sofa after forcing his way into his flat in York on 5th March this year. He then walked into the street covered in blood.

After the killing, the teenager told a doctor that Mr Skelton was "just a waste of space, someone who doesn't deserve life."

Reed, who was already on licence from a sentence for assaulting police officers, and on bail for similar assaults, had armed himself with a hammer and a screwdriver before walking to the property where Mr Skelton lived at Chancery House, Holgate Road.

He was caught on a CCTV camera kicking the door down shortly after 11.30pm.

Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, said: "The pathological evidence and evidence from the scene show that he engaged in a sustained and frenzied attack on him."

Mr Skelton suffered 70 separate injuries including a skull fracture and a gaping wound to the throat.

It is thought the victim was struck to the head with the hammer at least 15 times, some of the blows so forceful it forced fragments of bone into his victim’s brain. He was also kicked, punched and stamped upon and stabbed to the chest and neck area with a knife grabbed in Mr Skelton’s home.

The court heard Mr Skelton and Reed's mother had been in a relationship for some time but did not live together.

Mr Sharp said: "Reed loathed him, had said repeatedly to his mother that he wanted to kill him, and had previously attacked him."

Reed said he was "elated" after the killing and described the attack to a psychiatrist, stating: "I ran upstairs and kicked his door open, he was asleep and I woke him up. I didn't say anything until I sat down...I smashed his head in with a hammer then I cut his throat...I loved it.

"I had an urge to kill him. I didn't have an urge. I finally did it.

"The feeling of a life in your hands is to save a life, it's the same rush in taking a life. I probably feel better about ending one.

"I can still see his face covered in blood crawling around trying to get up. I told him don't get up, I'll make it easy for you." He said he struck him again.

Police outside Mr Skelton’s home Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Reed stopped at a taxi office on his way to York railway station where he was aiming to catch a train to Leeds to stay with a friend Scott Fletcher. He asked to use the toilet to clean the blood off himself, claiming he had been punched but then told taxi staff: "I lied, I've slit someone's throat."

After being told about having to wash blood off himself Fletcher's text message response was "LOL, you sick guy delete all messages and phone calls."

After discovering he could not get a train for a time to Leeds, Reed then approached a stranger at the railway station and told him about the killing.

Mr Sharp said: "Reed volunteered he had beaten his stepdad up, hit him over the head with a hammer and saying 'he wouldn't die so he slit his throat'.

The man he spoke to said he seemed to “have a smirk on his face.”

Reed then left the station and went to see friends at a hostel and told them what he had done. He was arrested a short time later and tried to set himself up with a mental health defence by telling officers he lived: "In a pineapple under the sea."

Simon Kealey QC representing Reed said he had a personality disorder and had previously been sectioned under the mental Health Act as a result of behavioural difficulties but not sufficient to diminish his responsibility. He also had a long history of substance abuse but it was his first conviction before a crown court and he had a lot of maturing to do.

Reed, of Strensall Road, York, pleaded guilty to the murder today. Sentencing him to life in custody, Mr Justice Langstaff said his record showed his behaviour was not out of character that night and he had shown no remorse.

“One of the most horrifying aspects of the offence was the way in which afterwards you appeared to glorify in what you had done.”

“You are a very dangerous man, as you are now, but you are a very young man.”

Mr Skelton’s 77-year-old mother said when she heard of his death ”my whole world turned upside down.” He was the first of her six children. “He used to visit me every day.”

Fletcher, 18, of Grantham Towers, Burmantofts, Leeds, pleaded guilty to assisting an offender and will be sentenced this afternoon.