Bodybuilder given life jail term for murdering near-neighbour

A BODYBUILDER who stamped to death a drunken man who stumbled against his van has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years.

After the attack Dale Lockin, 29, stood over his hapless victim in a triumphant muscle-flexing bodybuilder pose.

Unemployed factory worker John Lockwood was making his way home in the early hours after celebrating his 45th birthday with a friend.

But near-neighbour and gym-goer Lockin, who was in bed, thought the bump was a thief trying to break into his works van which contained tools.

He rushed downstairs wearing only trousers and found Mr Lockwood, 45, collapsed on the pavement, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Nicholas Clarke QC, prosecuting said of Lockin: "He was very aggressive in his approach, possibly believing goods were being stolen from the vehicle. As he picked the man up he lost his self-control and violently attacked him."

Mr Lockwood was dragged to a secluded ginnel just yards from his home and stamped on.

Lockin then triumphantly stood over his victim "with his fists clenched in a belligerent pose" before going back to bed.

Mr Lockwood died of severe injuries to the major organs in his abdomen. Footwear impressions from his attacker were imprinted on his body.

The victim's close friend Stephen Ratcliffe told the court: "He was pleasant and did not have an aggressive bone in his body."

Lockin, of Wellington Grove, Bentley, Doncaster, had denied murdering Mr Lockwood on May 31 this year but was found guilty yesterday after a trial.

The construction worker claimed he helped Mr Lockwood to his feet after seeing him lying on the pavement. His girlfriend had got out of bed and saw a man "messing about" around his van.

Lockin denied losing his temper and said he would have helped him if he had realised he was injured and bleeding. He just thought the man was drunk.

He helped Mr Lockwood to his feet and saw him stumble into a privet hedge. Lockin said he then turned and went back home.

Lockin, who has a two-year-old son, told the court: "I never laid a finger on him."

Mr Lockwood, a machine setter who was made redundant in 2005, had a close circle of friends and enjoyed cycling and drinking in pubs near his home in Bentley.

He was found slumped in the road at 7am by a passer-by who called an ambulance. He had a wound on his head, blood on his hands and his shoes were missing.

First-aid was given at the blood-stained scene in a ginnel off Lauder Road, Bentley but Mr Lockwood died less than four hours later in Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

The court heard Lockin approached a police officer after a murder inquiry was launched.

He said he had found a man trying to break into his van and finding out he was drunk moved him on and went to bed.

But witnesses said they awoken by noises and shouting coming from the street.

Mr Clarke said the victim was in no position to defend himself from Lockin.

The judge, Mr Justice Openshaw, jailing Lockin for a minimum of 16 years, described the attack as "savage and determined" and a "truly senseless act of violence".

He said Lockin, who had no previous convictions, "showed not the slightest regret or remorse".

Mr Lockwood's sister Sandra Croft said: "My brother was a good man, honest and kind.

"This was a vicious and unprovoked attack which he did not deserve.

"Sadly we cannot bring John back but we have now seen some justice."