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Man who live-streamed ‘sadistic’ murder of aunt’s partner is jailed for life

Declan O’Donnell, 24, repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped on 63-year-old Paul Cox

Declan O’Donnell has been jailed for life. (SWNS/Nottinghamshire Police)
Declan O’Donnell has been jailed for life. (SWNS/Nottinghamshire Police)

A man who beat his aunt’s partner to death in a "sadistic" attack live-streamed on social media has been jailed for life.

Declan O’Donnell, 24, repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped on 63-year-old Paul Cox during a two-hour rampage at a flat in Nottingham city centre.

Police were called when he uploaded footage of the brutal attack onto Facebook and Instagram on 10 February last year.

He was found guilty of murder following a 13-day trial at Nottingham Crown Court and on Friday was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 23 years.

Victim Paul Cox died following the brutal attack. (SWNS/Nottinghamshire Police)
Victim Paul Cox died following the brutal attack. (SWNS/Nottinghamshire Police)

Emergency crews had arrived at the flat in Mansfield Road and taken Mr Cox to Nottingham's Queen’s Medical Centre, where he died nine days later.

The attack left him with a catalogue of injuries, including a fractured skull, a broken spine, a broken jaw, wounds to the right side of his head and abdominal bleeding.

The court heard O’Donnell's social media followers had pleaded with him to stop with one person writing: "Stop, you are killing him."

His aunt, who was in the property at the time, also begged him to stop.

O’Donnell, of Nottingham, had admitted manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Judge James Sampson accepted he had been suffering from a mental disorder but it did not absolve him of the attack, which he described as “brutal” and “grotesque”.

Judge Sampson said: “You punched him so hard that you damaged your own hand.

"With that punch, you knocked him out and the injury to your hand angered you even more.

“For the next almost two hours, you subjected this defenceless and semi-conscious man to a relentless and humiliating assault.

“Throughout the attack, you filmed yourself and him as he laid bloodied, beaten and distressed on the floor.

“Words do not do justice to the horror of the images the jury had to see."

A general view of Nottingham Crown Court, Nottingham.
Declan O’Donnell was jailed at Nottingham Crown Court. (PA)

During the trial, jurors viewed disturbing footage of Mr Cox drifting in and out of consciousness having been repeatedly attacked by O’Donnell.

When police arrived, O’Donnell was uncooperative and threatened officers with a knife before being arrested.

Detectives examined the footage in which O’Donnell could be heard blaming Mr Cox for his mother’s death, which was related to alcohol abuse.

Mr Cox’s family said in a joint statement afterwards: “For our family, the past 15 months have been the most difficult time of our lives, and now that this is over we can finally focus on grieving for Paul.

“Our thoughts are with everyone that has been impacted by what Declan O’Donnell did that night.”

Detective Inspector Melanie Crutchley, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This was a truly horrifying attack, almost defying belief in its brutality and utterly senseless nature.”