Men found guilty of murder of Sunderland man Blaine Hammond

Anthony Keating (left) and Louis Whelan have been found guilty of the murder of Blaine Hammond. Credit: Northumbria Police

Two men have been convicted of murder after brutally assaulting their victim and abandoning him in a disused exchange box.

Louis Whelan and Anthony Keating, both 23, were convicted of murder after carrying out the attack which killed Sunderland man Blaine Hammond on 3 December last year.

His injured body was then dragged to and abandoned in a disused exchange box across the street.

Emergency services attended Saltburn Road and found the 22-year-old's body, who was later pronounced dead.

During a four-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, a jury heard how Whelan, of Watling Street, Towcester, and Keating, of Palmerston Road, Sunderland, savagely beat Blaine before leaving him for dead.

On Monday 14 November, the pair were found guilty of murder.

Blaine Hammond, 22, was beaten and abandoned in an old exchange box in Sunderland. Credit: Northumbria Police

They were remanded into custody and are due to be sentenced before the same court at a later date.

Speaking after the hearing, Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Chatterton, said: "First and foremost, our thoughts remain with Blaine’s loved ones following his tragic death and we will continue to support them in any way that we can.

"This was a shocking and brutal attack which has left a family without a son, brother, nephew, uncle, grandson and a dear friend.

"The offenders have then gone on to deny the charges put to them and made Blaine’s loved ones suffer through a lengthy court process and trial before they were able to see justice done in court.

"No result will ever take away the pain of what’s happened, but hopefully this guilty verdict today gives the family some closure.

"Finally, I want to thank the team of officers and staff who have remained dedicated to this investigation and worked tirelessly to ensure a conviction.

"I also want to commend the local community and all those who helped with this case - your support has helped get the result Blaine and his family deserve."

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