THREE men are facing life sentences for beating a man to death before putting his body in a wheelie bin and setting it alight in the grounds of a church.
Stuart Jarvis, Andrew Jenkins and Stewart Malnieks were today found guilty of murdering 60-year-old Michael Ayres after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.
A jury heard firefighters discovered Mr Ayres’s body after being called to tackle the blaze outside St Augustine’s Church, Hyde Park.
During the investigation police found CCTV footage of Jarvis, Jenkins and Malnieks pushing a wheelie through the streets of Hyde Park.
The prosecution claimed all three men were involved in the murder of Mr Ayres before stealing property, food and alcohol from his home.
Jurors were told all three men had a “common purpose” in disposing of the evidence, including setting fire to Mr Ayres’s body in order the cover up what they had done.
Jarvis, 50, and 38-year-old Jenkins, both of Heights West, Armley, and Malnieks, 61, of Midland Road, Hyde Park, all denied murder but were convicted after the jury of seven men and five women reached unanimous verdicts.
Jarvis and Malnieks were also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Jenkins had previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
All three men will be sentenced tomorrow.
Mr Justice Goss told the court that he must impose a life sentence upon each defendant but must consider the minimum terms each of them must serve in custody.
Mr Ayres and Malnieks lived in bedsits within the same property on Midland Road.
The three defendants met up with Mr Ayres during the course of January 15 and he was subjected to a “sustained forceful attack”.
Later that evening Jarvis and Jenkins were seen a few streets away carrying a TV which belonged to Mr Ayres.
The following day Jenkins took a games console and a Sony boombox which had belonged to Mr Ayres to a Cash Generator store in Armley.
Witnesses saw the three men looking for and obtaining a wheelie bin.
The men were also seen starting a fire in a yard near to Malnieks’s home and burning clothing.
Jenkins was also caught on camera buying firelighters at a Sainsbury’s store.
After the fire the three men went and sat on the steps of Hyde Park Picture House and drank bottles of Lambrini which they had taken from My Ayres’s home.
Pouches of cat food were also taken from Mr Ayres’s home
Jarvis and Jenkins returned to the scene of the fire and were arrested after they began shouting at members of the fire service.
A post mortem showed Mr Ayres had died as a result of multiple injuries to his head, neck and body.
Injuries indicated that Mr Ayres’s had been subjected to significant blunt force trauma consistent with being punched, kicked and stamped upon.
Forensic officers discovered Mr Ayres’s blood in three different areas of Malnieks bedsit and on clothing belonging to Jarvis and Jenkins.