Two men have been given life sentences for the brutal murder of a 20-year-old who was attacked near his home in Mirfield.
Josh Hirst was stabbed after he returned from his girlfriend’s birthday celebrations on August 3 last year.
Sentencing Joe Church, 21, to a minimum of 25 years in jail and Aaron Smith, 19 to custody for life with a minimum of 22 years, both minus 198 days spent on remand, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said the effect on Mr Hirst’s family had been devastating.
“In their statements Mrs Hirst speaks simply of her broken heart, Mr Hirst of how he has lost his son and his family of how every aspect of their lives has been destroyed.”
Sentencing at Leeds Crown Court yesterday he said he was satisfied Church had bought “a fearsomely lethal lock knife” on the morning of August 3 in order to attack Josh Hirst. He was wearing leather gloves when he and Smith chased their victim down a ginnell and caught him.
The judge said Josh Hirst was unarmed when Church with “that dreadful weapon in your hand, cut his throat and then stabbed him through his carotid artery.”
Church, of Redlands Close, Mirfield, and Smith, of Saville Street, Emley, were each convicted by a jury last week by a 10-2 majority of murdering Mr Hirst, of Grove Street, Mirfield.
The judge told them the sentences were the very minimum they would pair serve before they could be considered for release.
Kirstie Rainford, 22, of Springbank Drive, Liversedge, who was Church’s girlfriend, was jailed for 21 months after she admitted 3 charges of assisting an offender.
She took Church a change of clothing after the attack, drove him to a friend’s house and later took his car to him.