Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Judge blasts murder trial mother

Kevin Bennett died after an unprovoked attack by three youths in Liverpool

A woman who has three sons serving life for murder has been condemned by a judge as "a pathetic and tragic character".

Linda Doran, 42, stood in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court alongside teenage sons Connor and Brandon, who were convicted with their friend Simon Evans of beating a homeless man to death.

Connor Doran, 17, had dared Evans, 14, into starting the attack as Kevin Bennett, 53, slept rough outside a supermarket, Liverpool Crown Court heard. Brandon Doran, also 14, acted as lookout as the victim suffered a violent beating in the early hours of August 17 last year.

Afterwards, unemployed Doran tried to scupper the police investigation by providing her sons with false alibis. She was jailed for 30 months after being found guilty in February of perverting the course of justice following a joint trial with the boys, who were each convicted of murder. They were ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

Doran's other son, Ryan, 23, was jailed for life last October after he murdered a complete stranger, 42-year-old Wayne Mitchell, who he attacked with a bottle in a takeaway. Another son, Jordan, 21, was jailed for six months in February after being held in contempt of court by Judge Clement Goldstone for using a mobile phone to take photographs in the courtroom during the trial of his mother and brothers.

Passing sentence on Linda Doran, Judge Goldstone, the Recorder of Liverpool, told her: "You are a pathetic and tragic character. You have just seen your two youngest sons sent to detention for a murder. You have another son who is serving life for murder. There are not many parents who have that sort of personal agony to bear. But then again not that many mothers would have shown themselves to be either so unwilling or unable to shoulder the responsibility of motherhood as you have."

He told her the lives of Connor and Brandon, who both have educational difficulties, had improved since they were taken away from her. He said: "I cannot fail but observe the extent to which your children have benefited from the stability and care which their lives in care and on remand have brought to them."

Connor Doran, labelled the "pack leader" by the judge, was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years, Evans was ordered to serve at least eight years and Brandon Doran received a minimum six-year tariff. The judge explained to them that they would only be released when the Home Secretary is satisfied that they no longer pose a danger to society.

Mr Bennett, described to the court as "vulnerable" and a "heavy drinker", died in hospital six days after the beating behind an Iceland store on County Road, Walton, Liverpool. He had suffered a fractured eye socket, a collapsed lung and a broken ribcage which detached from his chest.

Speaking outside court, Mr Bennett's cousin Angela Connerty, 49, said: "Justice has been done and that's all we wanted as a family. Why did they pick on him? We keep asking, and we'll never, ever know why they did that to him." She described Mr Bennett as "fabulous".

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