A boy who killed a devoted step-dad by brutally smashing him round the head with a cricket bat has been found guilty of murder.
Derek Whyteside, 42, was given “no chance” after the 16-year-old “crept up from behind” and attacked him in broad daylight.
A court heard he was battered when he went looking for those responsible for stealing two bicycles from the children of his partner Michelle Beddall. He was less than a mile from his home.
The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, approached the factory worker from behind and struck him round the back of the head with a child-sized bat.
Mr Whyteside collapsed to the ground following the attack in Withywod Drive, Telford, on June 18.
He suffered a fractured skull and as he lay on the ground brothers William Owens, 40, and Gareth, 39, ran over to stamp on him.
Mr Whyteside was rushed to hospital but died two days later on June 20.
The boy was found guilty of murder following a seven day trial at Stafford Crown Court.
As the verdict was read out, a man in the public gallery shouted and the shocked youth put his head in his hands.
He was remanded in custody and warned by a judge he faces a mandatory life jail term when sentenced next month.
At an earlier hearing, the Owens’ brothers pleaded guilty to affray.
After the verdict, Detective Inspector Mark Bellamy, of West Mercia Police, said: “Our thoughts are with Derek’s family and friends as they continue to come to terms with his tragic death.
“Despite the 16-year-old claiming he acted in self-defence it is clear the jury disagreed and agreed with our evidence that he had acted with intent.
“We’re pleased with this decision and hope it brings some kind of justice for Derek’s family and friends.
“I would like to thank them for the dignity they’ve shown throughout our investigation.
“I’d also like to thank my team in the major investigation unit and colleagues within the CPS for the meticulous investigation that has resulted in today’s verdict.”
The trial heard how Mr Whyteside had been looking for a boy suspected of taking the bikes from outside their home in Chesterfield Drive, Telford, Shrops.
Armed with a knuckleduster, the former factory worker, was said to have confronted the teenager who ran away.
The youngster who then armed himself with a cricket bat, for what he claimed was self defence, then hit Mr Whyteside in another confrontation.
Witnesses said the boy, who had taken an exam at school that morning, shouted that he had “killed him” as Mr Whyteside lay motionless in the road.
Prosecutor Kevin Hegarty told the court: “Mr Whyteside was looking for two stolen bicycles and also he was looking for those who were responsible for stealing them.
“He was struck across the back of the head with a cricket bat.
“The impact fractured his skull. The fracture extended into his right eye socket.
“Before he could take another step he collapsed to the ground.
“He then cracked the back of his head on the ground, which caused a further serious
fracture – and in turn, damage to his brain.
“He died two days later.
“[The person in the dock] is the young man who stuck the blow with the bat.
“When he did that he intended at the very least to do really serious harm to Mr Whyteside.
“He gave Mr Whyteside no chance to take any action to defend himself or to get away. No chance at all.”