A factory worker who brutally murdered his “shy and retiring” colleague after lying in wait for him in the dark has been sentenced to a minimum 28 years in jail.
Shaun Wainwright, 47, who was described as a “violent bully” with a history of holding grudges, had denied killing 36-year-old Simon Holdsworth.
But a jury took just two hours to convict him of the murder after they had heard how he attacked him following a minor grievance.
Sentencing him to life in prison with a minimum term of 28 years, Mr Justice Globe described how having left his wallet at Fluorocarbon Bakeware Systems (FBS) in Sheffield, Wainwright had returned to retrieve it.
But Mr Holdsworth, who was described as “shy and retiring” and the “kindest, friendliest, most loving and caring young man”, had already locked up and was waiting at a bus stop to go home to his fiancee.
Teesside Crown Court heard how Mr Holdsworth refused to open up again so Wainwright drove on ahead and waited for him before beating him to death with a metal bar he had previously taken from work and kept in his car.
His victim suffered severe skull fractures and lacerations to the scalp and there were no signs of any defence injuries after his body was found on playing fields at Rainbow Forge Primary School.
During the trial, Wainwright had claimed Mr Holdsworth was a “very good friend and a workmate” and said they had a shared interest in fishing and had often spoken about going on a trip together.
On the night of the attack in December 2013, he had told the court after finishing work he had sat his in car listening to CDs and drinking lager before going home.
But the evidence of the police investigation led the jury to dismiss his story and convict him of murder.
Sentencing him to a minimum term of 28 years in jail, Mr Justice Globe said he had taken into account “the severity of the attack and the fact he was left alone with no prospect of help”.
He also paid tribute to the dignity of Mr Holdworth’s family during the trial and the work of the police in investigating the crime.
Speaking after the verdict yesterday, Simon Holdsworth’s family said: “Simon was a much loved son, brother, fiance, father and uncle.
“Our family have been totally devastated by what has happened to Simon. His life was brutally ended in the most horrific circumstances. Our lives will never be the same again.
“We miss Simon every day. He will be forever in our hearts.”
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Etheridge, South Yorkshire Police, said: “We know that Shaun Wainwright has a history of holding grudges against people for relatively minor things.
“He’s had workplace disputes before where he has physically assaulted people.
“He was physically much bigger than the victim and overpowered him, leaving him for dead - all of this points to the actions of a violent bully.
“He knew where Simon would be that night and he drove to the scene intent on revenge for a dispute he had with him. The defendant has a short fuse and responded with maximum force over a minor grievance.
“Simon’s family have lost someone they loved dearly and Shaun Wainwright’s family have lost someone too - there are no winners here.”