A man and a woman from Skelmersdale have been jailed for life for beating and stabbing a vulnerable man to death, before setting fire to his body.
Deborah Andrews, 44, and William Vaill, 37, both from Skelmersdale, were jailed for the murder of 44-year-old Eamon Brady last July.
The pair appeared at Preston Crown Court today where they were sentenced to life in prison for the "vicious and prolonged attack" on Mr Brady.
Andrews and Vaill were arrested following a fire at Mr Brady’s address at 7.30am on July 21, 2018.
Firefighters were called to reports of an incident at a property in Elmridge.
Inside, crews found Mr Brady with a number of injuries to his head and torso. A quilt had been carefully placed on the lower part of his body and set alight.
The 44-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene with detectives from Lancashire Police immediately launching a murder investigation.
Initial enquiries revealed the victim had been with Vaill and Andrews on July 20 and CCTV footage showed the pair leaving Mr Brady’s address around 4.50am on July 21, carrying two bags.
Officers traced Vaill and Andrews to a nearby address, where it was revealed they had sold several items belonging to Mr Brady.
These stolen goods included a games console and sound system. Further items belonging to Mr Brady were also found.
Vaill and Andrews were quickly arrested and charged by police on suspicion of murder.
A post mortem examination later revealed the victim had suffered multiple head injuries, a number of stab wounds to his upper body and neck and significant injuries to his lower body from the fire.
The defendants initially pleaded not guilty but Vaill changed his plea and also admitted a charge of arson with intent.
Andrews went to trial and was convicted of murder and arson with intent.
Vaill was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 28 and a half years. Andrews was also handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 28 years.
Det Supt Claire McEnery, of Lancashire Police, said: “Vaill and Andrews are clearly extremely dangerous offenders and today’s prison sentences reflect the gravity of their actions.
“The pair launched a vicious and prolonged attack causing numerous, horrific injuries to Mr Brady which proved fatal.
“We welcome today’s result and hope it provides some comfort for Mr Brady’s family.
"My thoughts remain with them.”