‘Accrington Stanley’ milk advert actor jailed for murdering man in Liverpool

Kevin Spaine, 43, starred in a 1980s milk advert as a child, the court heard  (Merseyside Police)
Kevin Spaine, 43, starred in a 1980s milk advert as a child, the court heard (Merseyside Police)

A man who starred in a well-known milk advert as a child actor in the 1980s has been jailed for murder after beating a man to death.

Kevin Spaine uttered the famous line “Accrington Stanley? Who are they?” in the advert, aired by the Milk Marketing Board.

On Tuesday Spaine, now aged 43 and of no fixed abode, was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of murdering Learoy Venner in Anfield, Liverpool.

Police were called to a house in Belmont Drive, Anfield, around 3pm on July 27, after Mr Venner was found with head injuries.

Emergency services attended and he was taken to hospital, where he later died.

A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: “Spaine fatally assaulted Learoy, with a post mortem finding that 53-year-old Learoy received ‘multiple forceful blows’, causing a brain injury.”

John Harrison KC, representing Spaine, told the court in mitigation that his client’s life had been “ruined” by drug abuse.

Learoy Venner was described as ‘a loving, gentle soul’ by his siblings (Merseyside Police)
Learoy Venner was described as ‘a loving, gentle soul’ by his siblings (Merseyside Police)

“Mr Spaine was a very promising young footballer, and he appeared in a very famous advertisement on the television – an advert for milk involving Accrington Stanley,” said Mr Harrison, according to a report by the Liverpool Echo.

“Shortly afterwards, he sinks into a life of criminality. Twenty years later, he is convicted of murder. It’s not an unfamiliar spiral to the court, but it is a tragic one.”

Appearing off-screen in the popular advert, Spaine asks another young boy clad in a Liverpool FC strip for lemonade from a fridge.

As the other boy chooses to pour himself a glass of milk, Spaine responds: “Milk? Eugh.”

The other boy replies: “It’s what [former Liverpool star] Ian Rush drinks. He said if I don’t drink lots of milk, when I grow up I’m only going to be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley.”

Spaine then retorts: “Accrington Stanley, who are they?” to which his co-star replies “exactly”.

Spaine had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but was convicted of murder on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 18 years.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Judith Blease said: “Spaine compounded the suffering of Learoy’s family by denying murder, and altering his story to try and avoid responsibility.

“Now, through this trial, we know now that Spaine repeatedly struck Learoy, and then left the scene without alerting anyone to the devastating injuries he had inflicted.

“Spaine will now be serving a significant jail term, due to an extensive investigation which overcame every obstacle Spaine tried to place in the way of our detectives.

“We understand that no sentence passed can ever undo the pain that Learoy’s death caused to his family and friends. But hopefully today’s conviction of Spaine does at least provide some sense of justice being done, and allows them to continue to try and come to terms with the devastating events of last July.”

In a excerpt from the Victim Personal Statement read to the court, Mr Venner’s siblings described him as “a loving, gentle soul” with “a beautiful personality” and told that his death had been difficult fort he family to comprehend.

“We loved Learoy so much, we will forever hold him close and dearly to our hearts, minds and soul for the rest of our lives,” they said.

“Some of us have been too overwhelmed by the intensity of the process of the case and could not find the courage to attend the court hearing.

“Our lives are in ruins, however we are full of gratitude for the Prosecuting Team and the Family Liaison Team, who have fully supported us along the agony and has better positioned us to deal with the effects.

“As the case comes to a close we can only hope we might now be able to substance the burden of losing our brother.”