Life sentences for Brendan Mason's murderers

20/02/2017

Two Leicester men have been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Brendan Mason, in Abbey Park in July 2016.

Joshua Hack and Keith Lowe both eventually admitted that they had killed Brendan. They had lured him to the park in the early hours of 5 July. They stripped him naked and subjected him to a vicious and brutal assault that left him with unsurvivable head injuries.

Both initially denied being involved. Joshua Hack was even interviewed by the police as a witness. However, detectives investigating the killing found video footage on the defendants' mobile phones of them carrying out the attack.

Karen Thompson from the CPS said: "Joshua Hack and Keith Lowe both pleaded guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence that they attacked and killed Brendan Mason. The CPS had evidence placing them at the scene of the attack, DNA evidence on their clothes and witness accounts of them boasting about the attack after they had done it. Most significantly, both had filmed the attack on their mobile phones.

"The police were able to retrieve a deleted video of the attack on Joshua Hack's phone that showed him kicking the victim and taunting him. Faced with this evidence, Hack pleaded guilty just before the start of the trial.

"Keith Lowe refused to provide the PIN number for his mobile phone, so the CPS continued to trial with the other evidence. While the trial was in progress, the police managed to access a deleted video on his phone that clearly showed his part in the violence. The CPS presented this to the defence and Lowe changed his plea to guilty.

"This was a particularly distressing case to prosecute, both because of the excessive violence of the attack and the humiliation that accompanied it. I would like to offer my sincere sympathies to Brendan's family who have had to live with their sudden and traumatic loss."

Both were sentenced at Leicester Crown Court to life imprisonment. Joshua Hack was handed a minimum term of 20 years and 6 months and Keith Lowe a minimum term of 21 years.

Background information:

Brendan Mason was 23 years old. He was a vulnerable young man with learning disabilities. He was discovered, naked and bleeding, by two groundsmen at Abbey Park, Leicester, on the morning of 5 July 2016. He was taken to hospital in Coventry, but died from his injuries later that morning.

CCTV and telephone evidence showed that Hack and Lowe had lured him to the park in the early hours of the morning, where they carried out their planned attack. They stripped him naked and threw him in a pond to try to disguise any forensic evidence that would link them to the attack.

After the attack, they cycled to a nearby McDonald's and went on to meet up with friends, to whom they boasted of the attack.

They then tried to cover their tracks by washing and bleaching their clothes and shoes. Both denied responsibility for Brendan's death. Their mobile phones were seized by the police and the deleted video was found on Hack's phone. However, Lowe did not give his PIN number to the police.

Even without this footage, there was still sufficient evidence to charge both Hack and Lowe with Brendan's murder. The CPS also authorised charges of perverting the course of justice for their attempts to cover up their crime.

Technical experts were eventually able to access Lowe's phone and uncovered a video of Lowe taking part in the attack.

The charges of perverting the course of justice will lie on file.

Karen Thompson is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands.