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UPDATED WITH FAMILY REACTION: Lodger Michael O Leary found guilty of murder of Thetford pensioner Ronald Beacham

PUBLISHED: 14:42 20 June 2012 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 June 2012

Ronald Beacham who died following an alleged assault

Ronald Beacham who died following an alleged assault

Archant

A lodger was jailed for life after being convicted of carrying out a “murderous attack” on a pensioner causing him to suffer a fatal heart attack.

Michael “Mick” O’Leary, 57, was told he must serve a minimum of 13 and half years before he is considered for release after he was found guilty of murdering Ronald Beacham, 66.

Norwich Crown Court heard how O’Leary carried out an unprovoked attack on Mr Beacham after they returned from a night out in the Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Thetford.

Mr Beacham of Ulfkell Road, Thetford, was repeatedly kicked in the head and never regained consciousness, despite being taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Jailing him, Judge Peter Jacobs told O’Leary that Mr Beacham had suffered a heart attack as a result of being assaulted by him: “As a result of that attack this unfortunate man, who had done nothing to you, died.

“This was a sustained attack.”

He accepted that O’Leary had been fuelled by drink and had not intended to kill Mr Beacham and told him that he would be almost 70 when he might get released from jail.

Detective Inspector Stuart Chapman said: “This was an unprovoked assault which tragically led to the death of Ronald Beacham, and I would like to offer my condolences to his family and friends.

“O’Leary appears to have become increasingly aggressive during the evening before setting upon Mr Beacham for no reason. There is no excuse for the level of violence used; within a matter of minutes O’Leary had kicked and beaten him so badly that he would not recover.

“His actions have robbed children of a grandfather and great grandfather, and an innocent man of his retirement years.”

The Family statement said: “We the family of Ron Beacham would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Norfolk Police for their professionalism in preparing, delivering and concluding the evidence needed to charge and convict the murderer responsible for taking the life of our beloved family member. He is still greatly missed by us all and the very many friends he had.

“We would like to also thank the witnesses that were called and everyone who made statements and for their help in putting him where he so obviously belongs for the term of the sentence.

“A void has been left in the hearts and lives of so many family and friends of Ron by the savage, evil and callous actions of a coward on such a gentle loving family man.

“We are pleased that justice has been served and that he will not be able to inflict the ongoing pain and suffering felt by our family on any other family.”

See tomorrow’s EDP for a full report of the case.

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