Teenager jailed for life over gay murder

A TEENAGER attacked and killed a 45-year-old gay man in a darkened alley in Northampton town centre after the pair had a sexual encounter, a court heard.

James Hyland, 19, was jailed for life at Northampton Crown Court yesterday for the brutal murder of Michael Fardon, whose body was found in the centre of the town almost a week after their ill-fated meeting in a bar.

Hyland admitted murdering the factory worker in an alleyway off College Street in the early hours of July 15 last year. Mr Fardon, from Moulton, was found just 300 yards away from the Boston Clipper, where the pair had met on the day he was killed.

Gregor Purcell, prosecuting, said both men were seen on CCTV footage leaving the pub before heading into the darkened alley for sex.

He said: "It seems clear Mr Fardon went there for some intimate contact but what happened descended into violence. Hyland, in a state of disgust and confusion about his sexuality, lashed out."

Hyland, of Trinity Avenue, Northampton, admitted knocking Mr Fardon unconscious with one or two blows to the face. At this point he was still alive, however Hyland tipped his body 15ft over railings into a concrete stairwell, causing fatal head injuries.

Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 12 years, Judge Charles Wide QC said: "After a sexual encounter you lashed out. While he was completely unconscious, utterly unable to defend himself, you tipped him over the railings. You left him there and made no attempt to call for help."

Mr Fardon was reported missing by his family when they could not contact their normally dependable relative.

William Harbage QC, defending, said Hyland was a "confused young man" who was unsure about his sexuality. He had been abusing alcohol and drugs at the time of the murder.

He stressed the attack on Mr Fardon, as well as another gay man in Northampton two weeks before the murder, were not part of a homophobic campaign against gay men but a reaction of disgust at his own actions.