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  1. ITV Report

Life sentences for man and woman who killed their vulnerable friend

Eamon Brady Photo: Liverpool Echo Syndication

A man and woman who brutally murdered a vulnerable friend before setting him on fire will spend at least 28 years in jail.

William Vaill and Deborah Andrews were handed life sentences for killing Eamon Brady from Skelmersdale in a “brutal and sustained” attack.

Mr Brady was hit in the head with a hammer at least 17 times and repeatedly stabbed and slashed in the neck and body in the early hours of July 21.

Vaill, 37, and Andrews, 44, then wrapped his body in bedding and set it on fire before stealing a PlayStation 4, sound bar, DVD player and bank card belonging to their victim.

Mr Brady's flat Credit: Liverpool Echo Syndication

Vaill, of Evington, Skelmersdale, pleaded guilty to murder and arson last month and was today given a life sentence with a minimum of 28-and-a-half years in prison.

William Vaill Credit: Liverpool Echo Syndication

Andrews, of Elmstead, Skelmersdale, was found guilty after a trial and given a life sentence with a minimum of 28 years in prison.

Deborah Andrews Credit: Liverpool Echo Syndication

Prosecuting, Francis McEntree said Mr Brady was a vulnerable man who was regularly taken advantage of by those around him.

He knew both of the victims well, having been friends for several years and they had all spent the together socially in a “happy, if noisy” manner.

An emotional victim statement read on behalf of Mr Brady’s daughter Amy Brady told of the devastating effects she has suffered since the murder of her best friend.

"There was a hole in my heart when my brother died that has been made bigger and will never be filled,” it stated.

“My dad was not only my dad, he was my entire being.”

Defending Vaill, Stuart Denney said he had begun cannabis and alcohol use since before he was a teenager and that Skelmersdale was “the worst place in the world for him”.

Michael Lavery, defending Andrews, said she had “limited capabilities and intelligence” and was previously of good character.