Grieving friends and family of the ‘kindest, friendliest young man’ Simon Holdsworth are still having counselling to come to terms with his brutal and unprovoked murder.
As Shaun Wainwright wakes up in a prison cell to serve the first day of his life sentence, Simon’s mum Christine, financee Carleen McKeown and other loved ones are still no closer to understanding why the evil killer attacked him in such a violent, cold-blooded way.
Sentencing his murderer to serve a minimum term of 28 years for the attack, His Hon Justice Henry Globe told Teesside Crown Court that Mr Holdsworth had ‘no bad blood anywhere’, and witnesses could think of no reason why somebody would want to kill the engaged family man.
Justice Globe said: “The witnesses described him as a non-confrontational person, as someone who was shy and retiring, who had good relationships with others.
“These observations are mirrored in the three victim personal statements I have studied from his mother, sister and fiancée. They describe him as the kindest, friendliest, most loving and caring young man, always full of fun and laughter, who was always first to offer assistance to those who needed a helping hand.
“His death has brought untold misery and grief to his family and friends, some of whom are still undergoing counselling for the trauma they have suffered.
“The horror that happened on that night will remain with them for the rest of their lives. He will forever be in their hearts but he will never again be in their presence.”
He told Wainwright: “The question that’s asked in all three statements in different ways is why? Why did you do it? What was your motive? You have never given them a reason.”
Wainwright lay in wait near school playing field in Hackenthorpe, Sheffield, and beat 36-year-old Simon to death with a metal bar he had stolen from work after he refused to reopen the factory where they both worked, so he could get his wallet he had accidentally left behind.
The angry thug, who was much bigger than 5ft 7in Simon, hid in the dark as his workmate walked home in Hackenthorpe on December 16, 2013 and bludgeoned him to death.
Justice Globe said: “There was no evidence of him having struggled or delivered any offensive or defensive action. He was clearly caught unawares and subjected to a brutal, violent attack.”
The court heard that Simon was hit around the head at least four times. Two of the blows were so strong they caused ‘massive’ fractures to his skull.
Justice Globe said: “It’s the type of injury the pathologist normally sees when he is conducting a post mortem on someone who has fallen from a great height or has been in a road traffic accident.
“At that time, you were trying to kill. And you succeeded.”
A jury took less than two hours to find Wainwright, aged 46, of Dagnam Road, Arbourthorne, guilty of murder following a three-week trial.
The judge’s 28-year minimum term sentence means Wainwright will be nearly 75 before he is considered for release from prison on licence.
He told him: “After the attack you made your escape and pretended for weeks to all around you that you were a grieving friend. You didn’t shrink into the background consumed with guilt. You were at the forefront, laying a wreath, going back to the scene, talking to friends and spreading false rumours about what had happened when all that time you had the special knowledge of the truth.
“This was no guilt trip, I’m satisfied your actions were calculated to draw attention away from you.”
Wainwright, wearing a black V-neck jumper, stared at the floor at the judge addressed him and passed sentence.
Simon’s fiancée Carleen McKeown was in tears in the public gallery.
After the hearing, Carleen posted a statement on a Facebook page which said: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank South Yorkshire Police on a job well done.
“Their task wasn’t easy by any means and they deserve a huge pat on the back. Thank you to the community of Hackenthorpe for your support.”
“My thoughts are with Shaun Wainwright’s family at this time. Cheers to you all
After the hearing, South Yorkshire Police Det Sgt Robert Jones said the heavy sentence reflected the gravity of the circumstances around Mr Holdsworth’s death.
He said: “There’s no doubt that Simon was the victim of a totally unprovoked attack by a person who was supposed to be his friend and work colleague.
“A crime of this nature changes lives forever. Our thoughts are with Simon’s extended family, who have conducted themselves with dignity throughout this tragic ordeal.
“I’m proud of the meticulous investigation undertaken by the South Yorkshire Police officers, a case that was made all the more difficult to investigate due to the lies and deceit of the accused. As a team, we are content that justice has prevailed.”
His Hon Mr Justice Henry Globe told Shaun Wainwright as he jailed him for life:
“You decided to attack him because you lost your temper when he wouldn’t do what you wanted him to do.
You had left your wallet in the factory and you remembered you had left it when you got half way home.
You turned around and saw Simon Holdsworth waiting at the bus stop. You knew he was a key holder and you wanted him to return to the factory with you so he could open it up.
It was 11pm. Only an hour or so earlier, in a telephone call with his fiancée, they had agreed she should wait up for him so they could talk. He had an incentive to go home as quickly as he could.
His refusal angered you so much that you decided to attack him. You drove to where he would get off his bus, you arrived there before his bus arrived, parked your car, and got out with a long, heavy weapon.
There’s evidence that a couple of months beforehand, you had taken out of a scrap bin an off-cut from some metal railings.
You carried such a weapon around with you in your car. It was immediately available for you to use in the course of your attack.
You walked along Delves Road, you walked through a gap in the hedgerow and you waited for him to arrive.
It was a playing field you know: you went to school there, you were brought up in the area. This was your home territory.
The darkness was an advantage to you. The darkness was an issue of fear for Simon Holdsworth.
Within minutes, his bus arrived and he walked to his death.”