Former soldier is jailed for life over brutal murder

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A FORMER soldier has been jailed for life for the brutal murder of the elderly caretaker of a West Yorkshire hotel.

Trevor Leighton, 78, suffered traumatic brain injuries and facial fractures after being repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped upon by Neil Brand.

Brand, 27, carried out the sickening attack in the doorway of the Southmoor Hotel, Hemsworth, in the early hours of August 14 2011. The pensioner died from his injuries in March 2012.

Brand had previously been prosecuted over the attack while Mr Leighton was alive and was jailed after admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Brand was subsequently charged with murder after Mr Leighton died.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court found him guilty of the offence by a majority of 11-1 following a four-day trial. They rejected his claims that he had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the attack.

The court heard Mr Leighton was popular and well respected in his community and lived and worked at the hotel. Brand carried out the attack after spending days drinking.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall, QC, told Brand he must serve a minimum of 18 years in prison before he is eligible to apply to the parole board for release.

The described the killing as a “full-scale unprovoked attack”.

The court heard Brand had spent time in the army and had served in Iraq. He was later discharged form the forces after he tested positive for drugs.

The judge told Brand: “It is a great shame, isn’t it, that a man like that died at the hands of a man like you.” He added: “The true reason for it was, at the time, your appalling abuse of alcohol and drugs, self pity and anger.”

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