Murderers get life for killing Blaine Hammond in Sunderland and dumping his body

Blaine Hammond's family have issued a statement, in which his mother described the 22-year-old as loving "holidays, working and spending times with his friends". Credit: Northumbria Police

Murderers who beat a man to death in Sunderland have been sentenced to life behind bars.

Blaine Hammond was attacked on 3 December 2021 by Louis Whelan and Anthony Keating, who then dumped his body in a disused exchange box on Saltburn Road.

Emergency services, including police and paramedics, attended the scene and Blaine was pronounced dead.

Following an extensive police investigation, Whelan and Keating, both 23, were identified as suspects, arrested and subsequently charged with murder.

They were then convicted following a five-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court in which a jury heard details of how they beat Blaine and left him for dead.

On Wednesday 25 January, Whelan and Keating, both 23, were both jailed for life, and must serve a minimum of 14 years.

During sentencing, a victim impact statement written by Blaine’s family was read out on behalf of Blaine’s mother, Leigh Gray.

Anthony Keating (left) and Louis Whelan were found guilty in November. Credit: Northumberia Police

It read: "I will never get over the loss of my beautiful son or the horrendous circumstances of his murder.

"Blaine was a kind, caring, well-loved son, brother, uncle, nephew, grandson, cousin and friend.

"Those responsible for Blaine’s death have not only taken his life but have destroyed the lives of all who loved him.

"We all feel like we are living our own life sentence. We were never given the chance to say goodbye to Blaine.

"Blaine had his whole life ahead of him, he wanted to drive a car, have a family and children. He loved his holidays, working and spending times with his friends.

"It has taken two people to destroy not only his life but his family and friends'. He will always be loved and missed and forever in our hearts."

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Chatterton, said: "This has been a horrendous ordeal for Blaine’s family, who have conducted themselves with dignity and shown so much courage throughout these difficult proceedings. No sentence can ever bring Blaine back.

"Whelan and Keating have never shown any remorse for their acts and the loss of Blaine’s life – and their reluctance to admit their roles in this despicable attack which took Blaine’s life and deprived him of a future, meant his family were put through the ordeal of a trial.

"These men are dangerous, violent offenders and our communities are a better place without them."

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