Martin Mather jailed for murder of disabled man in Rhyl

15/11/2010

A Rhyl man who beat a disabled man to death has been handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 17 years, at Mold Crown Court today.

Martin Mather, 23, had earlier pleaded guilty to the murder of 56-year old Philip Holmes at his flat in Rhyl in April this year.

CPS North Wales prosecutors and North Wales police's investigation team had flagged the case as being a disability hate crime; that is, a crime perceived to be motivated by, or where there was a demonstration of, hostility based on a person's disability.

Speaking after the sentence was announced, CPS North Wales Crown Advocate, Gareth Preston, said: "This was a vicious and senseless attack which took the life of an innocent man.

"When reviewing the evidence relating to this case, we considered the issue of whether the attack was in any way motivated by hostility toward Philip Holmes' disability. The CPS takes disability hate crime extremely seriously and has specific policies in place to ensure that these issues are properly considered at all stages of the prosecution process.

"It is hard to know for certain the exact motivation behind this attack - only Martin Mather truly knows what drove him to commit such an horrific crime.  What is clear is that Mr Mather was aware of, and exploited, Philip Holmes' vulnerable situation. In interviews with police after his arrest, Mr Mather also made disparaging remarks about Philip Holmes that displayed hostility toward his disability. Prosecuting counsel drew the court's attention to these aggravating factors.

"We would like to thank all those who have supported the prosecuting authorities in bringing this case to a conclusion. This has been, and remains, a very difficult time for Philip Holmes' family and friends. Our thoughts remain with them."