A man who brutally kicked a vulnerable amputee in a wheelchair to death has been jailed for life.

Daniel Sharples, a martial arts enthusiast, had been drinking pints of lager and shots from 11am before launching the sickening attack on Michael Mairs, 53.

In front of several witnesses underneath a railway bridge, Sharples, 38, tipped Mr Mairs out of his wheelchair and kicked him in the head and face, even as he lay unconscious on the ground.

The well-built dad tried to convince detectives that Mr Mairs had supplied his 15-year-old son with Spice or heroin, leaving him in a coma, but it was a complete lie.

After Sharples was arrested, he ranted at police: ‘Why don’t you do your job and go and clear all these smackheads off the estate in the f***ing town centre.’

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He later claimed he was high on Valium, but still boasted about his violence, telling officers: ‘I’m glad I did it and I’ll do it again.’

Sharples also viciously attacked two other men under the bridge. Before his arrest, Sharples was seen changing his outer clothing as he tried to slip through a pub beer garden to escape police.

Mr Mairs, a much-loved dad-of-two and granddad, suffered from poor health including chronic alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver and deep vein thrombosis, which led to the partial amputation of his left leg.

He died three weeks after the attack in Warrington town centre on October 28, 2019.

Sharples, of Grisedale Avenue, Orford, Warrington, admitted manslaughter but was convicted of murder by a jury.

He was jailed for life at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday and ordered to serve a minimum of 21 years behind bars.

Sharples was seen to briefly smile in the dock as he was led to the cells, prompting one family member to shout: ‘Not smirking now, are you?’

In a heartbreaking victim impact statement, Kadie Mairs, Michael’s 31-year-old daughter, said Sharples had ruined many people’s lives.

She said: ‘No words can describe how I feel. My whole world has completely changed.

‘I feel like a different person and that any opportunity for closure or to say goodbye to my dad and to grieve normally has been stolen.

‘You don’t realise how much this matters until it’s too late. One of the worst things for me to get my head around is how my dad was killed from being viciously attacked.

‘He was a vulnerable man in a wheelchair and it’s devastating to know he would have been unable to defend himself in any sort of way. He did not deserve this.

‘There have been all sorts of speculation, gossip and simply untrue things written about my dad due to this attack which have been so hurtful to read.

‘It is incredibly painful to feel like my dad may have died not knowing truly how much people loved and cared for him as I didn’t get a chance to tell him this.

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‘I just hope he knew that he was loved unconditionally by myself, my brother and those close to him.’

Detective Constable Lee Ellis said: ‘This was a brutal, horrific assault, we’ve spoken to numerous witnesses and that was the sense from all of them, which happened in the middle of the day, in broad daylight.

‘In his two interviews with police, he gave no comment. If anything he was trying to justify what he did, saying that a person had sold Spice to his kids.

‘I’m really pleased with the sentence, this was horrific for the family to sit through a trial and I’m glad justice has been served for them.’

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