Teens jailed for almost 50 years after man found dead with nearly 40 stab wounds in a canal in Leigh
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At around 7am on Thursday 25 March 2021 police were called to the canal path in Leigh, Wigan close to St Helen's Road to a report of a body floating in the canal.
Emergency services attended and the body of 33-year-old Scott Anderton was recovered from the water. It was soon realised he had suffered horrific injuries to his face, abdomen and limbs and had died as a result of thirty-seven separate injuries across his body, believed to have been caused by at least one knife and a blunt instrument.
A full investigation was launched and during initial enquiries it was established the previous evening (24 March) a 21-year-old man had been stabbed on the same stretch of canal path.
The 21-year-old informed police he had been assaulted by a single male in a balaclava who had attempted to steal his mobile phone but did not assist officers further. As a result of this he was arrested, with officers suspecting he had been involved in an altercation with Anderton.
During interview it was established his initial account was false and he later confirmed that he had been in contact with three males he knew to be Liam Bailey (25/10/2002), 16-year-old Harry Maher (10/12/2004) and 17-year-old Liam O'Brien (10/03/2004).
Following further enquiries he was released with no further action and officers swiftly moved to arrest Bailey and the two teenagers on suspicion of murder.
During their arrests a number of items were recovered including clothing that had been identified in CCTV footage from the night Anderton was killed.
Following extensive CCTV enquiries all three males were confirmed to be in the area and were seen leading Mr Anderton from the town centre to the canal path. It's here where Mr Anderton was assaulted for a period of around 30 seconds and stabbed multiple times before he was dragged and pushed into the canal.
When in the water Mr Anderson attempted to grab hold of the bank to pull himself back up but soon lost consciousness and slipped into the canal as he succumbed to his injuries.
Following searches of their phones it was also revealed that Bailey and O'Brien had returned to the scene later that morning and filmed the police cordon on St Helen's Road.
Today (Friday 12 November) Liam Bailey of Diamond Street, Leigh has been jailed for23 years and four months after pleading guilty at Manchester Crown Court to murder. He also received 10 years for section 18 assault and three years for attempt robbery with those sentences to run concurrently.
Harry Maher of Green Lane, Standish has been jailed for 16 years after being found guilty of murder and Liam O'Brien of Schofield Street, Leigh was jailed for 10 years after he was found guilty of inflicting bodily harm and manslaughter.
Bailey and O'Brien were also sentenced for their involvement in an assault that occurred on Tuesday 1 September 2020 in Leigh in which they left a year-old man with serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, after they assaulted him by repeatedly punching and kicking him in the street.
Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson of GMP's Major Incident Team said: "This was an extremely violent, callous and unprovoked attack that cost a man his life.
"They showed absolutely no remorse for their heinous actions, ignoring his cries for help, before watching him die in the canal. In a final act of evil, they then returned to the scene of the crime to take videos.
"Thankfully due to the extensive CCTV enquiries we were able to quickly pin point their movements that evening and morning and established that all three of them had been with the victim and were involved in his death.
"Although we will not be able to bring Scott back I hope today's significant sentence provides a sense of justice and closure for his family and loved ones. I'm glad all three will now be behind bars for the foreseeable and will not be able to inflict any further damage or injuries."