A MAN has been jailed for life for murdering his flatmate in a Doncaster tower block during a row over cash.
Ashley Styring, aged 24, dramatically changed his plea to guilty to murdering 26-year-old John Kidd after his mother saw him in the court cells.
He had already admitted the manslaughter of Mr Kidd, and a jury had been sworn in at Sheffield Crown Court ready to hear his trial.
But after Styring’s change of heart the jurors were yesterday ordered to return a guilty verdict for murder and the manslaughter plea was vacated.
Prosecutor Peter Moulson, QC, said Mr Kidd died in hospital on January 13 this year, eight days after being assaulted by Styring.
The victim was punched a number of times to the head and kicked to his body at his flat which he shared with Styring and another friend at Cusworth House, St James Street, Doncaster.
Mr Kidd, who had learning difficulties and was much smaller than Styring, died from head injuries.
When arrested by police Styring claimed unknown persons must have entered the flat and attacked Mr Kidd while he and another flatmate Cameron Turner were out.
But Mr Turner told police Styring had subjected Mr Kidd to acts of violence in the previous months, punching him about the head and face.
He had access to Mr Kidd’s bank account and regularly withdrew cash for his own purposes.
On the afternoon of January 5, Styring could not get any cash out of the bank using Mr Kidd’s card so returned to the flat ‘angry and frustrated’ - after which the assault took place.
Adrian Waterman QC, for Styring, said he had ‘genuine remorse’ for the victim but admitted throwing only one punch to the stomach and three punches to the face before stopping the attack himself.
“It was a temporary and short-lived, angry, irrational outburst,” he said.
Judge Michael Murphy said it was a ‘brutal and callous’ assault on a ‘frail and very vulnerable’ man.
He gave Styring a life sentence with a minimum term of 14 years.