Police call for lengthy jail term over Simon Holdworth’s murder

Detective Superintendent Phil Etheridge gave a press conference at the scene where Simon's body was discovered in a field off Birley Spa Lane, Hackenthorpe.
Detective Superintendent Phil Etheridge gave a press conference at the scene where Simon's body was discovered in a field off Birley Spa Lane, Hackenthorpe.
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Police who caught killer Shaun Wainwright have called for a tough prison sentence for the murderer after he subjected Simon Holdsworth’s family to the agony of a prolonged trial.

Wainwright, of Dagnam Road, Arbourthorne, has been given a mandatory life sentence but a hearing will decide on Wednesday on the earliest time he can be considered for release.

FBS Prestige, Birley Vale Avenue. Picture: Andrew Roe

FBS Prestige, Birley Vale Avenue. Picture: Andrew Roe

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Etheridge, who led the investigation into Simon’s murder, called for Wainwright to receive a sentence that reflects the ‘vicious and senseless crime he has committed’.

He made the comments following a three-week trial in which Wainwright had repeatedly denied having anything to do with Simon’s murder, despite CCTV evidence putting him at the location of the killing at the time it happened.

Teesside Crown Court heard evidence of Wainwright’s history of settling workplace and personal disputes with violence and a jury accepted the prosecution’s case that he had killed Simon because Mr Holdsworth had refused to reopen the factory where they both worked so he could retrieve his wallet and go fishing.

Wainwright had claimed he had been parked on a side road at the time of the murder, drinking cans of lager and thinking ‘sombre thoughts’ about his ex-partner who had died five years before.

Simon Holdsworth, 36, was killed after getting off a bus and beginning a short walk across fields at the back of a primary school on the way home to his fiancee Carleen McKeown and stepson Tiarnan.

Simon Holdsworth, 36, was killed after getting off a bus and beginning a short walk across fields at the back of a primary school on the way home to his fiancee Carleen McKeown and stepson Tiarnan.

But during cross-examination, CCTV footage was shown to the court of the road at the time – with no sign of Wainwright’s vehicle on it.

DCI Etheridge said Wainwright’s refusal to accept any responsibility for what he had done, despite being caught lying on several occasions, was evidence of his bad character.

“Simon’s family have had to endure three weeks of harrowing and graphic evidence about the way in which Simon lost his life,” he said.

“They have lost someone they loved dearly and their lives will never be the same again.

Shaun Wainwright

Shaun Wainwright

“Wainwright was a coward to the end.

“I hope that the sentence he receives reflects the vicious and senseless crime he has committed.”

The verdict was also welcomed by the Crown Prosecution Service, who worked with South Yorkshire Police to ensure Wainwright was convicted despite the limited forensic evidence against him.

Mark Marriott, senior crown prosecutor for CPS Yorkshire and Humberside said: “This was a brutal crime which has devastated Simon’s family.

“In the run-up to Christmas 2013, Simon was working overtime to buy Christmas presents for his fiancée and step-son and to save up for his wedding and honeymoon.

“Shaun Wainwright denied them that future by viciously attacking Simon with a bar or bat, and severely fracturing his skull. In the meantime, the defendant pawned a gold necklace he had stolen from Simon, and went on to lie repeatedly to the police about his whereabouts that night.

“He is now facing many years behind bars for his crime. I hope that the verdict gives some comfort to Simon’s family and friends. Our thoughts remain with them.”