Issued on 17/2/17 at 2:28 p.m.
Two men have pleaded guilty to murdering 23-year-old Brendan Mason in July last year.
Keith Lowe, 22, pleaded guilty to murder today (Friday 17 February) during a trial at Leicester Crown Court which started on Monday 13 February. He had initially pleaded not guilty to the offence.
Joshua Hack, 21, pleaded guilty to the same charge at an earlier hearing.
Brendan was found in Abbey Park, Leicester, on the morning of 5 July, with serious injuries. He died later that day in hospital as a result of severe head injuries.
He was found to have 99 injuries spread across his whole body – evidence that he was brutally beaten – along with defensive-type wounds to his hands.
Hack, of St Helen’s Drive, Leicester, and Lowe, of Rockingham Close, also in the city, were arrested a couple of days later on 7 July after extensive police enquiries.
Extensive phone work throughout the investigation showed that the three were friends. At 1.22am, Hack called Brendan and the pair spoke for 16 minutes – it’s believed that this conversation involved Brendan being lured to the park.
Examination of messages exchanged between the two defendants shows that there was a clear plan to harm Brendan – a plan they executed to the extreme.
CCTV shows that at 1.39am all three enter Abbey Park. Brendan’s phone makes no more calls or sends any text messages after this time.
After the attack, Brendan was stripped of his clothes in an effort to get rid of any potential evidence. The pair also attempted to wash him in the pond in the park.
His clothes were put inside his own rucksack and they threw it into the river. It was recovered the following day after CCTV enquiries found the pair cycling – with Brendan’s rucksack, which he had with him when he was last seen – on the canal path towards the National Space Centre.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Mick Graham, led the investigation. He said: “Brendan was known to the defendants and considered them as friends, and they lured him to the park with the full intention of hurting him.
“Brendan was subjected to a vicious, sustained attack which was filmed by his attackers on their phones. He was left naked and alone in the park having been brutally beaten.
“When it was clear they had seriously harmed him, they took steps to cover their tracks, disposing of his clothes and washing him to get rid of any evidence.
“The investigation was lengthy, with extensive CCTV trawls carried out across the city, water being drained from the pond in the search for evidence, along with detailed searches of the footpaths leading from Abbey Park towards the space centre.
“All those involved with this investigation were determined to bring those responsible to justice. I hope the fact that the defendants have admitted their involvement in Brendan’s murder will bring some small comfort to his family.”
Hack and Lowe will be sentenced on Monday 20 February at Leicester Crown Court.